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We are a gay couple and have lived together under one roof over the past three years. Our intention was to formalise our relationship this year but read in this column recently that the Constitution only provides for marriage between a man and woman. We are now considering adopting a baby we can raise as we both have steady and well-paying jobs. We live in a three-bedroomed apartment near good private schools where the child can study. Can the law allow us adopt as the Constitution forbids discrimination on grounds of sex? At what age can a child be adopted and which law can we refer to for exclusive provisions on adoption? Sonia and Tina, Nairobi.
Dear Sonia and Tina
According to the Children Act 2001, a gay couple cannot adopt a child. Section 158 of the Act clearly stipulates this.
Others who cannot legally adopt children include joint applicants who are not married to each other, people suffering from mental illnesses or those that have been charged and convicted in court or a sole foreign male applicant.
The High Court issues adoption orders following applications of a sole or jointly by two spouses where one or both of them has attained the age of 25. The applicant must be at least 21 years older than the child but has not attained the age of 65, is a father, mother or relative of the child. Legally, no arrangement can be commenced for the adoption of a child unless the baby is at least six weeks old and has been declared free for adoption by a registered adoption society. The Children Act illustrates issues touching on children like adoption, parental responsibility, fostering, custody, maintenance, guardianship, care and protection.
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