|Dutch Lower House Debates Multi-Parenthood|
by Redaktie in History & Politics , 30 December 2019
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The Dutch Lower House has debated multi-parenthood with responsible Minister Sander Dekker (Legal Protection). COC and the Dutch Gay Parenthood Foundation Meer dan Gewenst urged MPs to finally regulate multiple parenthood and custody properly.
Dutch gay interest organisation COC has been calling for a good multi-parenthood scheme for nine years now. In 2016, the State Committee on Parenthood Review agreed with this, and on March 7, 2017, eight political parties - including coalition parties VVD and D66 - promised in COC's Rainbow Ballot Box Agreement to quickly get this resolved.
Last summer, however, ministers Sander Dekker (Legal Protection) and Ingrid van Engelshoven (Emancipation) informed the House that the Cabinet only wants to come up with a scheme for partial authority. COC President Astrid Oosenbrug called this "deeply disappointing." Oostenburg: “Children are entitled to a good legal relationship with all of their parents, whether there are one, two, three or four parents.”
Partial authority offers children in multi-parent families little legal protection. “With this proposal, the parents will be allowed to go to a PTA meeting, but the child will be orphaned when his two official parents pass away. This is unacceptable.”
In a letter to the Dutch Lower House, COC and Meer dan Gewenst call for a fully-fledged multi-parenthood scheme in the short term. The organizations at least want the government to improve the proposed arrangement for shared parental authority in order to prevent children in multi-parenthood families from becoming orphans if their legal parents die while their social parents are still alive. In other areas, too, the legal link between parent and child in multi-parent families should be better protected, the organizations say.
More and more children grow up in a multi-parent family from birth. In practice, the parents, for instance, are a lesbian couple who together raise a child from birth with a gay or bisexual man or couple. In the current situation, the bond of these children with their third and fourth (social) parent is not legally protected or recognized at all.
This summer, the cabinet announced that it will introduce a surrogacy scheme. COC and Meer dan Gewenst are at least positive about this.
In 2018, they conducted a large public campaign for multiple parenthood during Pride Amsterdam 2018 and wrote an open letter to Dutch newspaper the Volkskrant. In 2016, COC, Meer dan Gewenst, and Ouders van Nu handed over thousands of signatures in favour of multi-parenthood to the then Minister of Justice Van der Steur.
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