Wednesday, 19 February 2014, 14:54
It was yesterday confirmed that the Department of Family Studies within the Faculty of Wellbeing at the University of Malta was not asked for its opinion on adoptions by gay couples during the drafting of the Civil Unions Bill.
Speaking during the Bill Considerations Committee meeting Head of Department Professor Angela Abela confirmed that the department had not been approached by the government and was not asked to be part of the consultative committee that drew up the Bill.
In the past, the department had also not been asked to carry out studies on adoptions by single gay people.
Professor Abela told the members of the Committee that education on the subject needs to be strengthened and the Malta should have a study on gay adoptions. The department could carry out such a study if it had the required resources and manpower.
She also quoted two recent studies that implied that child upbringing by gay couples is not inferior to upbringing by heterosexual couples. In some cases, lesbian couples were actually better parents than ‘normal’ couples.
A Cambridge study said that the structure of the family has no effect on the upbringing of children. On the other hand the style of upbringing, the relationship between parents themselves and with their children and social and economic resources can all have an effect.
Other studies show that children that are raised by gay couples do not have a higher chance of being gay themselves. “Girls might be more open to exploring their sexual orientation but in the end the ratio is just the same as in the whole society.”
Profs Abela also referred to two recent surveys that showed that the majority of people do not agree with same-sex couples adopting. “It is normal for people to be confused on the subject because our society is going through very rapid changes. But everyone should not just form an opinion by himself without seeing what the studies say.”
PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami insisted that this is a very delicate subject and appealed to the government not to rush to decisions. The PN agrees with Civil Unions but the law should not include the clause about adoptions as this is a question of children’s rights, and not parent rights.