Saturday, February 11, 2012, 19:22 , by Alison Bezzina
Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'm going to assume that you're one of those people who don't give a hoot about same sex marriage.
I'm also going to assume, that whilst you don't mind two consenting adults getting married regardless of their gender, you draw the line at adoption.
In fact, chances are that you'd be ok with legalising same sex marriage but only if it didn't include the right to adopt children.
Well, I hate to break this to you like this, but...are you sitting down? Drum roll....
FLASH NEWS - both male and female Maltese homosexuals can LEGALLY adopt children.
Malta's Adoption Act permits adoption by married couples and single persons, and it does not in any way specify the sexual orientation of prospective adoptive parents.
The only thing that differentiates prospective straight parents from 'the' gays, is that the latter cannot adopt children as a couple, but only as single parents. This is because as far as Maltese law is concerned, gay relationships are a figment of everyone's imagination.
According to The Foundation for Social Welfare Services, all the applications for adoption received by Aġenzija Appoġġ are treated on an equal basis. This means that the Agency is bound to accept applications presented to it that are not specifically excluded by Law.
Having said that, there seems to be a huge gap between having a legal right to adopt, and that right being granted.
I know of quite a few lesbians who have successfully gone through Malta's adoption process as single parents, and they all heavily advise other prospective adoptive parents not to reveal their sexuality when applying for adoption.
The reason for this is that whilst the law does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, the approval process involves so much subjective judgement, that revealing your sexual orientation to the assessors, is simply a risk not worth taking.
According to Aġenzija Appoġġ "the most important factor in adoption, is the couple's / person's willingness and ability to provide a loving, secure and stable environment for the child. The main focus is to ensure that the children's needs are met, and that they are offered a secure stable environment which ensures physical, psychological and emotional well-being. Throughout the approval process, it is ensured that the prospective couple or applicant can provide this environment for the child. This minimises the possibility that children, who would have already passed through the trauma of separation from their family, face another possible trauma. The aim of preparation and assessments also serves to help applicants understand the implications of adoption and reflect on their decision."
Whilst highly commendable, this sort of assessment can never be objective, and the assessors' personal values will always come into play.
What's more, couples are almost always prioritized over single applicants. Currently, for instance, only Malta and Russia are accepting adoptions by single Maltese prospective adoptive parents.
This means that realistically, single prospective parents end up waiting forever and a day for their turn to adopt a child, and one would assume that being openly gay, only puts them further down the priority list.
And... for the cherry on the cake?
Up to a few months ago, Ethiopia also used to accept adoptions by single Maltese parents, but now, the contact through which the Maltese are adopting in Ethiopia (the Church) has suddenly stopped accepting applicants from single people.
In simpler terms – Ethiopia's and Malta's Laws both allow adoptions by single parents, but the Church-run orphanage, through which the Maltese adopt from Ethiopia, has suddenly stopped accepting applications from single people.
Surely I need not speculate as to why this decision was taken by Malta's Church Authorities, but it can be safely assumed that it's not because Ethiopia has finally solved its poverty problems and that children are now thriving.
And then last week, during an homily at Ta' Pinu Sanctuary, Gozo Bishop Mario Grech preached that "adoption was an exemplary generous act." He also appealed to society to continue showing this hospitality, giving people considering abortion another option.
Of course, he failed to mention that single parents, especially 'the' gays, need not apply!