New rules on foreign adoption in Cambodia will ban a range of foreigners from the process.
Gay people, single people, those on a “low income” and those who already have two children will not be able to adopt.
In meetings with Jean Paul Monchau, the French official responsible for overseeing international adoptions, Cambodian officials expressed concern about the “potential psychological effects” of adoptions by these groups, according to the Phnom Penh Post.
If a proposed law on adoption is approved by the National Assembly it will codify these exclusions. It will also make it legal for parents to put their children up for aoption – at present only orphans are eligible for foreign adoption.
Homosexual acts are legal in Cambodia, and in 2004 the King expressed support for same-sex marriage.
The concept of sexuality as understood in Western culture has little meaning in Cambodia and as a result many people who have sex with people of the same gender do not identify as “gay” or “bisexual.”
A gay community has emerged in the past ten years, and the first Pride event was held in Phnom Penh in 2003.
During the 1970s the Khmer Rouge destroyed Cambodian society, killing educated people and forcing city dwellers into the countryside to work the land.
During their reign of terror they discarded Western medicine, destroyed temples and libraries. More than one million people died.
As a result Cambodia was left with many orphans, widows, and single-parent families.
Violence and poltical instability in the years following the overthrown of the Khmer Rouge meant that 1999 was the first full year of peace in 30 years.