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Tory PM candidate Andrea Leadsom wanted straight adoptive parents to get ‘priority’ over gay couples

Nick Duffy July 5, 2016
Andrea Leadsom appearing on LBC

Andrea Leadsom appearing on LBC

Conservative leadership candidate Andrea Leadsom once attacked adoptions by gay couples over interested “heterosexual couples”.

Ms Leadsom, a junior energy minister, is one of five candidates for the Conservative Party leadership.

The politician, who was a leading voice in the Brexit campaign, has answered questions in recent days about her vote on same-sex marriage in 2013, where she ‘positively abstained’ by voting both in favour and against.

PinkNews can reveal that in a number of blog posts on her official website, Ms Leadsom called for a system that would give heterosexual couples ‘priority’ in the adoption process.

In a post from 2009, she wrote: “There’s a truly unbelievable story in the paper today, that a young brother and sister, whose mother is a heroin addict, have been turned down for adoption by their own grandparents, because they are deemed too old, even though neither has yet turned 60.

“If that weren’t enough, the siblings are now to be adopted by two complete strangers against the wishes of the grandparents. Following adoption, they will then be ‘allowed’ 2 visits to their grandchildren each year.

“And as if that weren’t enough, the two strangers are a gay couple, who have been selected ahead of several heterosexual couples.”

“And as if that weren’t enough, the Grandparents have been told that if they object to the choice of adoptive parents, then their right to see their own flesh and blood twice a year will be denied them.

“Adoption should be all about what is best for the children. I just cannot for the life of me see how this takes any account of their needs. It is an utter tragedy for that whole family.”

One constituent at the time hit back: “It is not ‘worse’ that a gay couple who were selected before heterosexual couples. If the gay couple were more suitable, then they have been selected ‘before’ no-one.”

Another attacked the suggestion it is somehow bad that “the two strangers are a gay couple, who have been selected ahead of several heterosexual couples”.

In a separate post from 2007 about adoption, Ms Leadsom suggested a ‘points-based’ adoption system that gives preference to “a married man and woman as potential adopters”.

She wrote: “There may be a statistically strong case for preferring a married man and woman as potential adopters, and I would be in favour of a ‘points’ system for potential adopters, that took into account the statistical success rate of their particular profile (e.g. married, divorced, single, gay etc).”

Though she warned against “letting Catholic adoption agencies be exempt from the anti-discrimination laws”, she added: “When you look at the statistics, the Catholic adoption agencies have been very successful in placing children, and this may be to do with the fact that many of the children have been placed with a woman and a man who are in a strong marriage.

“The problem is that we all know that statistics only tell half the story. I certainly know of a gay couple, who, if they had a child, would be wonderfully loving and kind parents.

“If we are serious about putting the children first, rather than wringing our hands over the perceived rights of adults, then we should not rule out any type of family for any reason other than their individual and specific suitability as adoptive parents.

“The rights of gay adults to adopt, and the rights of Catholics to refuse to consider them, should not come into this.”

Ms Leadsom was a Conservative candidate at the time of the posts, but was not elected to Parliament until 2010. She has not raised the issue since.

She ‘positively abstained’ on equal marriage in 2013, voting both in favour and against citing the views of her constituents.

Ms Leadsom explained to PinkNews at the time she would vote yes to show her support for gay rights, but at the same time she would vote no because she found elements of the law “unacceptable”.

She said: “Having looked carefully at the Government’s consultation and considering the opinion of my constituents I find myself genuinely torn on the debate – I cannot vote against a measure that would mean so much to the minority of homosexual couples for whom marriage is the ultimate recognition for their genuine feelings for each other.

“Yet nor can I vote for a measure that risks centuries of faith based belief in marriage as between a man and a woman, that will upset so many of my constituents and which has not yet won public support.”

Explaining her plans to vote both ways, she said: “This is to reflect my support for the genuine love and commitment of same sex partners, but also to register my protest at the unacceptability of the timing and wording of this legislation, as well as to represent the concerns of so many of my constituents who feel very deeply that this proposal is simply wrong.”

More: 2016 Leadership Contests, adoption, andrea leadsom, candidate, Conservative, Gay, LGBT, priority, Same-sex, Straight, Tory

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