Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Because we don't want him around" isn't a valid reason to sever father/child bond

Here is a pretty odd story.

In the country of Austria a man and woman have a son. Over time they break up. Mom has sole custody while dad pays alimony and has regular contact with the son. Mom meets and gets together with a new partner, a girlfriend. This new partner wants to adopt the son, thus forming a new family with them. Before that can happen though the father's parental rights would need to be dissolved.

So far it seems that the lesbian couple has tried to forcefully strip the father of his parental rights. Thankfully previous decisions have been against what I call a jerk move. The couple has now gotten their case in front of the highest European court on human rights will rule if a lesbian can adopt her partner's child by basically forcefully stripping the father of his parental rights.

There are a few things of interest here.

1. Whatever decision is made in this case will reach across all 47 countries in the Council of Europe and cannot be appealed.

2. Many countries that make up the Council of Europe do not allow a child to have two mothers or two fathers.

3. Previous attempts to adopt the son seem to have failed not because of the violation of the father's parental rights but because it would go against some apparent presumption that a child must have a mother and a father and if a second mother is trying to replace the father (or if a second father were trying to replace the mother I presume) then that's just not right.

This worries me for one reason. If this new partner were a man, thus making it a matter of a man trying to adopt a child and push the birth father out, would there have been no major stink raised over it? Would this have not even made the press and would that birth father already be somewhere lamenting how he was pushed out of his child's life through no fault of his own?

4. This bit from the end.
It is unclear whether the father is aware of the court proceedings since the lesbian couple is pursuing the case anonymously. Nothing indicates the boy’s opinion.  The same lawyer – Helmut Graupner, legal counsel of ILGA-Europe – represents the women and the boy.
This is something that happens in America. Mother takes it upon herself to decide the fate of the father/child bond so she sets about doing so in secret. In a situation where there appears to be no evidence of the father being abusive or otherwise unfit how can the mother be allowed to sever the father/child bond in secrecy? If it is true that they are trying to pull off this adoption without the father knowing about it how can that possibly be see as anything resembling fair? And don't you find it funny that the same person is representing the both the couple and the son? So much for "the child's best interest".

Now I will be the first to agree that the logic that a child cannot have two mothers or two fathers is messed up. This is nothing but a manifestation of the homophobic idea that a child cannot possibly grow up to be a responsible, respectable adult if they have two parents of the same gender. But frankly that doesn't excuse the underhanded tactic of trying to force one parent out of the child's life when that parent appears to be fit and is in active in the child's life.

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