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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Coudray: No adoptions for same-sex couples

Trinidad and Tobago is not “that advanced” for the Government to contemplate the issue of adoption for same-sex couples, Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray stated in the Senate on Tuesday.

Responding to statements by Independent Senator Joy Abdul-Mohan that Government will have to consider what policy it should adopt with respect to adoption by same-sex partners, Coudray said: “That issue of same-sex couples adopting, we are not that advanced, but you never know in the future what would happen. And there are also issues dealing with surrogate parents that the so-called developed countries are dealing with and grappling with and no doubt these will engage us in the future.”

The minister conceded that the Adoption of Children’s Bill had “gaps” and did not address some of the challenges pertaining to adoption.

“We are saying that this is the first stage of our proposal and there are many more that we need to look at, as we progress. But we have made a very good start in coming this far in this short time. And if you look at the issues concerning adoption globally, there are many other issues concerning adoption as was said (by Abdul-Mohan).

“There are many issues that we need to deal with and it is possible to envisage that further amendment of the Act may be necessary in the future. It is a living, dynamic thing. And as we go along and the Children’s Authority sits, and as the cases and issues come up, I am sure that new legislation would be proposed to address some of the gaps and shortfalls in this legislation,” said Coudray.

Earlier in the debate, Independent Senator Dr Dhanayshar Mahabir said Government needs to clarify its position with respect to surrogacy, as the way the legislation was currently drafted makes it illegal for that method to be used.

He explained that a surrogate mother makes an agreement with two people to bear a child, sometimes using her own egg, and then hand over the child to them after birth.
Mahabir said this is a private arrangement but seems to go against the provisions in the bill.

“The Government of our Republic, in representing this bill to use, should articulate a position on surrogacy and in articulating this position it should then indicate whether we are in total disagreement with surrogate mother arrangements or we are in agreement,” said Mahabir.

Independent Senator Anthony Vieira raised concerns about children who are cared for by homes across the country.

He said these children should not be deprived of a family because of challenges in dealing with the biological parents.


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