A same sex couple in Australia has won their legal battle to adopt a child despite objections from the girl’s birth parents.
The Supreme Court of New South Wales in the south-east of the country ruled that the prospective parents could adopt the four year-old they have cared for since she was six months old. The child, ‘CJD’, was taken away from her parents just four days after she was born.
Her mother had been convicted of manslaughter following the death of her seven month-old son. The boy had died following his exposure to the opioid methadone and the psychoactive drug benzodiazepine. However, as a self-identified Catholic the mother objected to her daughter’s adoption by a lesbian couple. She and the father both told the Court they wanted CJD to be raised in a Catholic home.
The couple who had been caring for the child said that they had no intention of raising her as a Catholic because they disagreed with the Church’s attitude towards homosexuality.
Justice John Sackar ruled that neither of the girl’s birth parents were fit to raise her. He added that, although religious traditions and cultural background should be “preserved as far as possible” in adoption cases, this should not take priority over what is best for the child.
“Religion of course is only one of a multitude of factors the court is to consider in determining CJD’s best interests … While the birth parents’ religious beliefs must be respected, the proposed adoptive parents’ attitude to the Catholic faith requires equal respect.”
The girl’s surname was also changed to match that of her new adoptive parents. The couple did state that the birth parents would be allowed to visit her and that she would be allowed to make up her own mind about religion. If she chooses to be a Catholic later in life, her new parents promised they would not prevent her.
Photo by Image Catalog via Flickr under the Public Domain.