Ministry to study if policies need to be reviewed after court allows gay Singaporean to adopt surrogate son

The ministry noted that the High Court had recognised the public policies of encouraging parenthood within marriage, calling it "the norm in our society", and pointed to the lack of support for forming same-sex family units. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said it "respects the court's decision" after a High Court ruling on Monday (Dec 17) allowed a gay Singaporean man to adopt his biological son.

However, it will "study the Grounds of Decision carefully, and consider if the relevant policies and legislation need to be reviewed and further strengthened", said an MSF spokesman.

The 46-year-old Singaporean pathologist had fathered the Pennsylvania-born boy through a surrogate mum in the United States, and brought him to Singapore.

His bid to adopt the boy, now five, was rejected by a district judge last year, which led to the appeal in the High Court (Family Division).

"MSF had opposed the appeal because, amongst others, the adoption would be contrary to public policy against the formation of same-sex family units," said the spokesman.

She added that the man had also gone overseas for surrogacy to form a single parent household, when surrogacy is not permitted in Singapore.

The ministry noted that the High Court recognised the existence of two public policies. The first is of encouraging parenthood within marriage, which MSF described as "the norm in our society," and, second, is the lack of support for the formation of same-sex family units.

"However, the court concluded with not insignificant difficulty that an adoption order ought to be made in this case because it would advance the child's welfare, which the court found is 'first and paramount'," said the MSF spokesman.

The court took the view that allowing the adoption would "make the child a legitimate child with the social acceptance attached to this status", and that would bring some "positive social, psychological and emotional impact" on the boy.

All adoptions are decided by the court on a case-by-case basis, the spokesman added.

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