Spain: All Registered Couples Can Adopt Children

On June 23, 2000, the Parliament in the autonomous region of Navarra, Spain, passed a ground-breaking law allowing all registered couples in Navarra (including same-sex couples) to adopt children, enjoying the same rights and obligations as heterosexual married couples. Please send letters of thanks to the Navarran Parliament for this groundbreaking recognition of the equality, and dignity, of lesbian and gay relationships.

During the debates, representatives from the ruling party (Union del Pueblo Navarro) expressed antiquated and biased views on the risk posed to children by same-sex parents. Please send polite, educational letters to this party, inviting its members to broaden their perspectives.

Send your congratulatory letters to:

Presidente del Parlamento de Navarra
D. Jose Luis Castejon
Parlamento de Navarra
31002 Pamplona - Iruna Ganues
CI Emilio Arrieta 12
Fax: +34-948 212 755
jgpresidente@parlamento-navarra.es
MP Isabel Arbonies - Izquierda Unida
(author of the proposal)
Parlamento de Navarra
31002 Pamplona - Iruna Ganues
CI Emilio Arrieta 12
Fax: +34-948 204 225

Send your educational letters to:

MP Amelia Salanueva - Union del Pueblo Navarro
same address as above

SAMPLE LETTERS

SAMPLE CONGRATULATORY LETTER

Dear Ms./Srss.

I/we wish to congratulate (your Party/the Navarran Parliament) for a ground-breaking decision granting same-sex couples the right to adoption.

The measure passed by the Navarran Parliament remedies a discriminatory condition of inequality between married and non-married prospective parents, by which the latter were judged as potential parents according to the legal status of their relationship. By including same-sex couples, the law addresses another form of discrimination, that based on sexual orientation. It thus acts in the interest of all children, who need love and care in a context of equality and justice. As the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article 21) affirms, "State Parties that represent and/or permit the system of adoption shall ensure that the best interest of the child shall be the paramount consideration".

This measure brings honor to your Party/Parliament, and brings hope to many individuals who want to open their hearts and homes to children in need of them: individuals who--until now--were barred from the legal recognition of their capacity to parent by discriminatory laws.

Sincerely,


SAMPLE EDUCATIONAL LETTER

Dear Ms. Salanueva:

I/we write to you in deep concern over the views expressed by you and your party - Union del Pueblo Navarro- as grounds for opposing the measure passed by the Navarran Parliament allowing de-facto couples (homo- and heterosexual) to adopt children.

We would like to contribute some updated scientific information to your knowledge, so that you can revise your assumptions, to the benefit of the constituents you serve.

Common stereotypes of lesbians and gays as being, as a class, unfit parents are entirely unsupported by empirical studies. Studies consistently produce data refuting any such conclusion. Specifically, studies indicate that lesbian and heterosexual women do not differ significantly in overall mental health or in approaches to child rearing. Studies suggest that gay fathers demonstrate greater nurturance, have more investment in their role as parents, and view their paternal role more positively than heterosexual fathers. In general, empirical evidence suggests that the form of a family affects the child less, and has less to do with his or her ultimate well-being, than the processes (the degree of harmony or disharmony) it contains. Empirical studies also show no statistical difference in the number of children of gay and lesbian parents, versus those of heterosexual parents, who grow up to consider themselves lesbian or gay. Lastly, social science research suggests that children with a homosexual parent have normal peer relationships.

You will find enclosed a list of resources for further reading [SEE BELOW]. We hope these resources will help both you and your party to realize that homosexuals should face the same scrutiny--no more and no less--that other prospective adoptive parents do.

Sincerely,

*) Bibliography to be attached to sample educational letter

BIBLIOGRAPHY

J.M. Bailey, D. Bobrow, M. Wolfe y S. Mikach, "Sexual Orientation of Adult Sons of Gay Fathers", Developmental Psychology, 31 (1995) 124-129
R. L. Barret y B.E. Robinson, Gay Fathers, Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1990
J.J. Bigner y F.W. Bozett, "Parenting by Gay Fathers" in F.W. Bozett y M. B. Sussmn, eds., Homosexuality and Family Relations, New York: Harrington Park Press, 1990
F.W. Bozett, "Gay Fathers: How and Why They Disclose Their Homosexuality to Their Children", Family Relations, 29 (1980) 173-179.
F.W. Bozett, "Children of Gay Fathers" in F.W. Bozett ed. Gay and Lesbian Parents, New York: Preager, 1987
F.W. Bozett, "Gay Fathers: A Review of the Literature", Journal of Homosexuality 18:1-2 (1989)
D. Cramer, "Gay parents and their children: A Review of Research and Practical Implications", Journal of Counseling and Development, 64 (1986): 504-507
P.J.Falk, "Lesbian Mothers: Psychosocial Assumptions in Family Law", American Psychologist, 44 (1989): 941-947.
Gillian A. Dunne, "Balancing Acts: Lesbian Experience of Work and Family Life, Report to the Economic and Social Research Council, June 1998
E.D. Gibbs, "Psychosocial Development of Children Raised by Lesbian Mothers: A Review of Research", Women and Therapy 8(1988): 65-75.
Melanie A. Gold et al, "Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents" Pediatrics in Review, Vol. 15, No. 9 (September 1994): 354-358;
J.S. Gottman, "Children of Gay and Lesbian Parents", in F.W. Bozett and M. B. Sussman, eds., Homosexuality and Family Relations, New York, Harrington Park Press, 1990
S. Golombok, A. Spencer and M. Rutter, "Children in Lesbian and Single Parent Households: Psychosexual and Psychiatric Appraisal", Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 24 (1983) 551-572;
R. Green, "Sexual Identity of 37 Children Raised by Homosexual or Transexual Parents", American Journal of Psychiatry, 135 (1978) 692-697
R. Green, J.B. Mandel, M.E. Hotvedt, J. Gray & L. Smith, "Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A Comparison with Solo Parent Heterosexual Mothers and Their Children", Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 15 (1986) 167-184
S.I. Hand, The Lesbian Parenting Couple, unpublished doctoral dissertation. The Professional School of Psychology, San Francisco
S. L. Huggins, "A Comparative Study of Self-Esteem of Adolescent Children of Divorced Lesbian Mothers and Divorced Heterosexual Mothers" in Bozett, ed. Homosexuality and the Family, New York: Harrington Park Press
M. Kirkpatrick, C. Smith & R. Roy, "Lesbian Mothers and Their Children: A Comparative Survey", American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 51 (1981) 545-551
S.L. Kweskin y A.S. Cook, "Heterosexual and Homosexual Mothers Self-Described Sex-Role Behavior and Ideal Sex-Role Behavior in Children", Sex Roles 8 (1982): 967-875
T.A. Lyons, "Lesbian Mothers' Custody Fears", Women and Therapy 2 (1983): 231-240
B. Miller, "Gay Fathers and Their Children", The Family Coordinator, 28 (1979) 544-52
J.A.Miller et al, "The Child's Home Environment for Lesbian Versus Heterosexual Mothers: A Neglected Area of Research", Journal of Homosexuality 7 (1981) 49-56
B.M. Mucklow and G.K. Phelan, "Lesbian and Traditional Mothers' Responses to Adult Response to Child Behavior and Self-Concept", Psychological Reports 44 (1979):880-882;
M.D. Pagelow, "Heterosexual and Lesbian Single Mothers: A Comparison of Problems, Coping and Solutions", Journal of Homosexuality 5 (1980):198-204
Charlotte J. Patterson, "Summary of Research Findings", American Psychological Association, 1995
C Rand et al, "Psychological Health and Factors the Court Seeks to Control in Lesbian Mother Custody Trials", Journal of Homosexuality 8 (1982): 27-39
C.J. Patterson, "Families of the Lesbian Bay Boom: Parents' Division of Labor and Children's Adjustments", Developmental Psychology, 31 (1995) 115-123.
J.P. Paul, Growing Up with a Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual Parent: An Explanatory Study of Experiences and Perceptions, unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, 1986
R.I. Rees, "A Comparison of Children of Lesbian and Single Heterosexual Mothers on Three Measures of Socialization", unpublished doctoral dissertation, California School of Professional Psychology, Berkeley, CA 1979.
N. Thompson et al, "Personal Adjustment of Male and Female Homosexuals and Heterosexuals", Journal of Abnormal Psychology 78 (1971): 237-240.

Note: this list has been compiled from sources cited in the book "Conceiving Parenthood. Parenting and the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People and Their Children", a report of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission authored by Leslie Ann Minot and edited by Scott Long (San Francisco, 2000), see http://www.iglhrc.org/publications/books/index.html#conceiving

BACKGROUND

Although a number of countries have laws establishing a form of registered partnership for same-sex couples, most such laws specifically deny them the right to adopt children (as in Hungary, Iceland, Sweden and other countries). In Spain, the national Civil Code allows both foster care and adoption to de-facto couples, but only if the partners are a woman and a man. The states of Valencia, Castilla-La Mancha and Baleares allow foster care but not adoption rights to same-sex couples. And the two states where registered-union laws are in force (Catalunya and Aragon) prohibit adoption by same-sex couples.

The new law in Navarra states that "stable couples will be allowed to jointly adopt children, enjoying equal rights and obligations as those of married couples". It will enter into force by the end of July. (Stable couples are defined as those "in free and public union, having an affectional relationship analogous to the conjugal, independently of their sexual orientation," and having lived together for at least a year).

The author of the proposal was MP Isabel Arbonies, from Izquierda Unida, and the measure won the support of all political parties, except the governing one (Union del Pueblo Navarro - UPN). The vote was 50-22. A spokeswoman from UPN justified her party's opposition to the measure on the grounds of the "psychosocial damage" such adoptions might inflict on minors.

Besides adoption, the law includes a whole array of provisions to grant equality between stable de-facto couples on the one hand, and marriages on the other, in areas including taxes, inheritance, and public service workers' rights and pensions. In order to be fully implemented, they will require the amendment of national laws. A proposal to do so has been submitted by the Navarran Parliament to the Spanish Cortes, its national equivalent.