Thursday, 18 October 2012

How did the Northern Irish parties respond to adoption judicial review

I'm leaving this blog post largely in the words of the various parties in their own words as to how they have responded to today's judicial review on adoption here in Northern Ireland.

The DUP have nothing on their own website but speaking to the BBC the Health Minister Edwin Poots has said:

"It is my intention to urgently appeal this judgment and I am taking this action with a heavy heart.

"I have already publicly declared my intention to reform Northern Ireland adoption law because reform is much needed and long overdue.

"This judicial review has already delayed plans to introduce a new Adoption and Children Bill in the Assembly and I fear that this will lead to further delay."

Sinn Féin said:

Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey said she is disappointed by the Health Minister’s decision to appeal a High Court ruling that a ban on gay and unmarried couples is unlawful.

The West Belfast MLA and Chair of the Health Committee at the Assembly said:

"This is a disappointing decision by the Health Minister Edwin Poots considering that our laws on adoption where out of date and not reflective of modern society and life-styles.

"The primary focus when it comes to adoption has to be the welfare of the child. It has to be the determining factor and guiding principle when it comes to anyone adopting a child.

"A single person or unmarried couple should be able to adopt a child, regardless of their sexuality, providing they can provide a stable, caring home with the child’s best interests at the heart of that decision.

"This extension of the eligibility criteria in line with modern society will significantly reduce the number of children in care." 
 SDLP said:

SDLP Health Spokesperson Conall McDevitt has welcomed this morning's ruling that the current bar on unmarried couples and civil partners adopting is unlawful and has called for a legislative remedy.

The South Belfast MLA was speaking after Mr Justice Treacy's decision to grant the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission a judicial review into current arrangements regarding adoption.

He said:

"Mr Justice Treacy's ruling is very welcome and a positive move forward towards creating uniform equality on adoption across these islands.

"This ruling, however, is only one step forward. If full adoption equality is to be achieved and Northern Ireland’s arrangements are to be made lawful, in line with Britain, a legislative framework must be drafted and brought forward for ratification without delay."

The Alliance Party said:

Alliance Health spokesperson Kieran McCarthy MLA has welcomed the court ruling that stated that the ban on unmarried couples from adopting was illegal. He said that this was great progress and would allow unmarried and same sex couples to adopt.
Kieran McCarthy MLA said:

"This is a tremendous victory and a great day for progress. The ban on unmarried couples adopting was illogical and wrong. The only issue that should matter is the needs of the child and not a blanket ban on certain groups from adopting. This is an issue of equality, so I am glad that the correct decision was reached

"The previsous rules did not make sense. Only one member of an unmarried couple could previously have legally adopted a child which could have resulted in the other partner having no rights to the child if the legal parent died.

"We have far too many children waiting to be adopted for us to be picking and choosing who we think should be able to adopt.

"This ruling will obviously result in unmarried and same sex couple being able to adopt which I fully support. I would urge any unmarried or same sex couple who believes that they would be able to provide a stable home to a child to consider applying to adopt a child."
Traditional Unionist Voice have said:

Commenting on Treacy J's ruling in favour of same sex adoption, TUV Leader Jim Allister said he was disappointed with the outcome and hoped the Attorney General and Department would appeal.

"There was, in my view, inadequate attention to the paramount benefit to the child of adoption within a regular family unit of a father and a mother and unwarranted equivalence of such to the unnatural setting of a same sex relationship. Once more we see the human rights mantra being exploited to further divorce the law from the moral expectations and norms of the society it exists to serve."

The Ulster Unionist have said nothing on their website.

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