Gay Singaporean man allowed to adopt son in landmark ruling


A gay Singaporean doctor won the right to adopt his biological son on Monday in a landmark ruling for the city-state.  

The man and his long-term partner paid $200,000 (€176,000) for a surrogate to carry their child in the United States, as surrogacy is effectively banned in Singapore.

The 46-year-old, who has not been identified, brought his now five-year-old son back and attempted to adopt him to help secure him a citizenship.

But he faced a long struggle in the socially conservative city-state, where gay marriage is outlawed and male homosexuality is still technically illegal.

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The application was originally rejected by a district court judge in December last year, who ruled the boy could not be adopted because he was born through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to an unmarried couple, which is not available to couples in Singapore.

But Singapore’s high court overturned that ruling. 

Gay rights supporters wave a rainbow flag in the air

Singapore faces criticism from LGBT rights groups for its restrictive laws dating from the colonial era

‘In the interests of the child’

In his ruling Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon said that “the evidence has demonstrated to us that it is very much in the interests of the child that the adoption order be made.”

“His prospects of acquiring Singapore citizenship could be significantly enhanced by making an adoption order, which would in turn lead to an overall increase in the stability of his life in Singapore.”

The child did not automatically qualify for citizenship as the mother is also not from the country.

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The judge also remarked the decision had not been easy to come to, as he was concerned not to “violate the public policy against the formation of same-sex family units.”

Chief Justice Menon added the ruling was not an endorsement of what the doctor and his partner, who have been together for around 13 years, had done.

Only the doctor, and not his partner, will have parental rights over the boy.

Family overjoyed 

The man’s lawyer, Ivan Cheong, of Eversheds Harry Elias, said the family was delighted with the ruling.

“I cannot speak for my client apart from the relief and happiness he feels,” Cheong told DW.

“The winner really is the child who gets to benefit from staying with his family and the adoption order is in place as it advances his best interest.”

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