Last May, Professor Wendy Schrama argued in Dutch newspaper Trouw that lesbian parenthood is an example of ‘egalitarianism gone too far.’ This swipe at lesbian parenthood is incomprehensible according to Tanja Ineke and Phillip Tijsma of COC Netherlands, in a response to the article in Trouw.
Act on Lesbian Parenthood is a good thing
Professor Wendy Schrama put forward in Trouw that egalitarianism has gone too far. She mentions the Act on Lesbian Parenthood as the ultimate example. She is of the opinion that it is 'cramped' that a duo mother can become the legal parent of a child she is raising with her female partner through legal recognition.
COC Netherlands has fought for this Act on Lesbian Parenthood for years, and is extremely happy with it.
Part of our fight was our pursuit of equal rights. And with good reasons, as it was only possible for a non-biological parent to become the legal parent through a long, complicated and emotionally aggravating adoption procedure.
A non-biological father, for example in a couple that uses a sperm donor because the man is infertile, only had to go to city hall to get his child recognised in five minutes, becoming the official parent immediately. Fortunately, this inequality was ended with the Act on Lesbian Parenthood; both the non-biological mother as the non-biological father can become a parent through a simple recognition procedure.
But maybe even more important: our wish to properly arrange the legal position of thousands of children that are growing up with lesbian couples. Before the Act on Lesbian Parenthood, these children could end up orphaned when their biological mother died, and miss out on the half-orphan benefits when their non-biological mother died. The law was not doing justice to the social reality of two mothers fulfilling their role as parents.
In this perspective, Wendy Schrama's swipe at lesbian parenthood is incomprehensible. She also gives a passionate plea for legislation that is grounded on social realities. The Act on Lesbian Parenthood pre-eminently is a law that is based on the social reality that thousands of children are growing up with two lesbian mothers.
On another issue, we totally agree with Ms. Schrama. An increasing number of gay and lesbian couples are raising children with more than two people. For example two lesbian mothers with a biological father. That social reality also deserves legal recognition. We call on the state committee Reassessing Parenting to study this and spring into action. Introduce statutory regulations for multiple-parenthood in The Netherlands, preferable tomorrow!