Since the legalization of same-sex marriage, Belgium has taken another controversial step, allowing homosexual couples to adopt children.
On Friday, the lower house of Belgium's parliament voted 77 in favor and 62 against a bill giving same-sex couples the right to adopt children, according to Reuters. The bill would allow them to adopt children of any nationality, as the laws allow in Spain and Sweden.
Proponents of the law have argued that it aimed to protect the children of homosexual couples, such that they have the same rights as children of heterosexual parents, Reuters reported
Fons Borginon, president of the lower house's justice committee, told Reuters that there are already a lot of children who live with homosexual couples. Therefore, the law offers them a formal, legal, and clear definition of their status and rights.
Nevertheless, Christians defending the traditional basic form of family questioned whether this is a solution for the current problem.
"Every child has the right to a mother and a father. We think that a man and a woman living together is the best basis to educate a child," said Peter De Crem, head of the Flemish Christian Democrats in the lower house, according to Reuters.
"The party is worried about the fact that it is not generally or socially acceptable for homosexual couples to raise children," he added.
Belgium, a predominately Roman Catholic country, has some of the most liberal legislations in Europe regarding life and family, such as same-sex marriage, euthanasia and human cloning. Many Christians have expressed concern over its widespread secularism.
According to BBC, Belgium voted to approve same-sex marriage two years ago. Since then, an estimated 5,000 ceremonies have held.
In some other European countries where gay adoption is legal, some restrictions are implemented.
In the Netherlands, homosexual couples may only adopt Dutch children, while in Germany and Denmark, adoption is restricted to the biological child or children of one of the partners, sources from Reuters say.
Scotland is another place in Europe that has legalized gay adoption this year. Cardinal Keith O'Brien of Edinburgh, who criticized the decision by Scottish officials, insisted that it is "clearly not in the best interests of children," the U.K. newspaper The Scotsman reported.
"Such a measure would distort the understanding of the family, cause harm to children and promote the status of homosexual relationships," O'Brien was quoted by The Scotsman as saying.
"Homosexual unions are notoriously fragile and unstable, and the small number of homosexual couples living together make the suggestion that this measure would increase the number of potential adoptive parents unrealistic."
Meanwhile, the gay adoption bill in Belgium is still awaiting to cross the final hurdle. The bill will pass into law once it wins the approval of the Senate, which is expected in March.