Defensor defends LGBT Pinoys' right to adopt a child

Anakalusugan Party-list Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor has taken up the cudgels for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos who want to adopt a child, saying that it's perfectly legal for them to do so.

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“We must stress that under the law, the right to adopt a child is granted to individuals, and not to couples,” Defensor, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Welfare of Children, said in a statement over the weekend.

“Our adoption law does not discriminate against LGBT individuals who may wish to adopt children who are legally available for adoption,” stressed Defensor, who is running for Quezon City mayor in the upcoming May 9, 2022 polls.

The solon made the clarification to counter the widespread public misperception that only a heterosexual couple or husband and wife may adopt a child. By his explanation, people in a same-sex relationship also have a right to do the same.

“We want to encourage the adoption of abandoned and neglected children so that they may enjoy the living conditions conducive to their full development,” Defensor said.

“We would also prefer domestic over foreign adoption to preserve the child’s identity and culture here at home,” he added.

He explained that under the law, any Filipino citizen at least 25 years old may adopt a child who is legally available for adoption.

Defensor said the only requirements are that the citizen has full civil capacity and legal rights; has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude; is of good moral character and can model the same; is emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for the child; is at least 16 years older than the adoptee; and has the means to support and care for the child.

He noted that a child may become legally available for adoption after the fact of abandonment or neglect has been proven, or after a child is voluntarily committed by the parents or legal guardian.

The child, he said, is eventually issued an administrative certificate of availability for adoption, and put under the care of a foster parent, guardian or a licensed child-caring agency pending adoption.