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Clause 41 — Child to live with adopters before application

Part of Orders of the Day — Adoption and Children Bill — [2nd Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 4:00 pm on 16th May 2002.

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Photo of Evan Harris Evan Harris Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and Abingdon 4:00 pm, 16th May 2002

I am keen to make progress as I am conscious that many hon. Members want to speak.

I should point out that there are many justifications for recognising that unmarried couples are suitable for adoption purposes. The argument will be advanced that they are inherently more unstable, but it is based on poor research that does not compare like with like. Other types of partnerships who wish to adopt often last longer than many marriages. A generalising, simplistic analysis of figures that do not even compare like with like across socio-economic groups does the debate a disservice. If Miss Widdecombe argues that case later, I shall seek to intervene on her.

I also question the view that children placed into same-sex partnerships that are otherwise suitable to adopt are damaged in any way. Evidence produced by Professor Golombok, and the review conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, makes it clear they suffer no short-term or long-term damage, and do very well in such partnerships. Again, I shall seek to intervene on anyone who tries to argue against that evidence.

Liberal Democrats are proud to work with like-minded members of other parties to introduce this measure. In our manifesto—