A legally un-identifiable gay Singaporean man has won a historic court case enabling him to adopt a surrogate child who was born via surrogacy, according to recent reports, in a landmark victory for LGBT citizens in the country. The Singaporean in question, a doctor who can’t be legally identified in the midst of the case, fathered the child in the United States through a surrogate parent, but was prevented from formally adopting his son thanks to the socially conservative norms and laws of his home country.
While his efforts to adopt his son were initially rejected back in December, a Singaporean high court ultimately decided to allow the 46-year-old doctor to adopt his surrogate son, though same sex marriages and surrogacy itself are both still illegal in the country. Given that his relationship with his long-term partner wasn’t legally recognized, it was called into question whether he had legal rights to truly adopt the child born via surrogacy, though the high court’s newest ruling dispels any doubt he has parental authority over his son.
Given that the surrogate mother of the child in question was foreign, the newly-adopted son of the Singaporean man was banned from automatically gaining citizenship via birth. This, coupled with the LGBT nature of his relationship, led legal authorities to harshly question his parental authority. After the adoption takes place, however, the doctor will gain full parental authority over his son in the eyes of the law.
Authorities in Singapore denied that the man’s homosexuality was the cause for the dismissal of his original petition to adopt the child, claiming that the illegality of surrogacy in the country was the real reason he couldn’t see more and claim parental authority over his son.
A lawyer for the unnamed man noted parental authority was always their chief goal when taking legal action.
“Being recognized as a legitimate child and having his long term residential status met have always been our client’s primary concerns,” lawyer Ivan Cheong told the BBC.
Gay marriage remains illegal and strictly taboo in socially conservative Singapore, where even sexual relationships between same-sex partners has been outlawed. The criminalization of same-sex relationships has slackened in recent years thanks to progressive movements within Singapore and in Asia in general, however.
According to information compiled by the World Economic Forum, homosexual activity between consenting adults is still illegal in 73 countries. Only five countries in the world have constitutionally-mandated protections that guarantee equality on the basis of sexual orientation.