One queer family in Singapore is enjoying a particularly special holiday season this year after the highest court in Singapore ruled that their son could legally be adopted. Singapore, which criminalizes gay sex and does not recognized gay marriage, had previously prohibited a gay doctor from adopting the son he conceived through surrogacy.
Generally, children born in Singapore are not considered legitimate unless they are born in wedlock or legally adopted. Illegitimate children do not have the same legal rights as legitimized children in the country. Additionally, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy are generally not available to LGBTQ couples in Singapore who wish to have children.
In order to get around these legal restrictions and grow his family, a Singapore doctor and his partner paid $200,000 in order to conceive through a combination of in vitro and surrogacy in the United States. They conceived a son in 2013, who was born in the United States. The doctor quickly brought his new son home to Singapore, but found that he was not able to legally adopt him, which in turn meant that the child would not be able to have full rights in Singapore, including citizenship.
This month, however, the Singapore high court found that the evidence in the family’s case “demonstrated to us that it is very much in the interests of the Child that the adoption order be made but that the case,” but that it “should not be taken as an endorsement of the man’s actions” and that there was “significant weight to the concern not to violate the public policy against the formation of same-sex family units.”
Despite the language upholding the public policy of discrimination against LGBTQ couples in the court’s ruling, Singapore is moving towards increased LGBTQ rights. Following India’s lead, organizers in the country are working to decriminalize gay sex and increase acceptance of LGBTQ residents.