Singapore court allows gay man to adopt surrogate son

Child adoption (Representational picture) Pixabay

After the Supreme Court of India decriminalised the consensual sex between adults and partially scrapped Section 377 of the Penal Code, the socially conservative city-state Singapore also faced questions on whether people are ready to accept changes in their law. But, in a landmark decision on Monday the high court allowed a gay man to adopt his biological son that itself showed the progress of the country.

The judgement comes almost a year later since the first bid by the man was rejected in December 2017 while overturning the previous decision by the court that stated the man could not adopt the child as the boy was born through surrogacy in US via in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), which is not available to unmarried couple in this south-east Asian country.

The father of the boy is in a homosexual relationship with a partner. He paid a woman $200,000 to carry his child through IVF in US after he came to know that being a gay he will not be able to adopt a child in Singapore.

The district court which initially rejected the early application last year said that the man had attempted to walk "through the back door of the system when the front door was firmly shut".

As reported by Reuters, chief justice Sundaresh Menon said, "We attribute significant weight to the concern not to violate the public policy against the formation of same-sex family units on account of its rational connection to the present dispute and the degree to which this policy would be violated should an adoption order be made."

"However...we think that neither of these reasons is sufficiently powerful to enable us to ignore the statutory imperative to promote the welfare of the child," he added.

There are several issues that a same-sex couple in Singapore has to face and one of those major problems is adopting a child. In the country, which is quite conservative when it comes to the topic of LGBT, an adoption application can be made by a married couple or an individual.

Since homosexual couples cannot get married in Singapore, an adoption application has to be made by one partner as an unmarried person. This gives rise to two problems and these are:

  • The partner who is not the applicant will not have any rights in relation to the child. This is unlike his/her partner who will be considered the child's legal parent.
  • Male same-sex couples will not be able to adopt a female child. The law prohibits sole male applicants from adopting female children unless the court grants them permission to proceed.