Parliament questions on policies that affect unwed mothers and their children

October 27, 2016

Recently, there have been some questions raised in Parliament on the rationale behind the policy of not recognising children of unwed mothers as “legitimate” children.

The parliament’s view is: “Where benefits or laws differentiate on legitimacy status, they reflect the Government’s desire to promote strong marriages. Parenthood within marriage is the desired and prevailing social norm, which we want to continue to promote as this is key to having strong families.”

It is very strange to say that “strong families” or any kinds of values relating to marriage or parenthood can be bolstered by denying so-called “illegitimate children” equal inheritance rights, Baby Bonus cash gift and tax reliefs. How do these measures foster or promote any kind of deep-rooted norms? What positive values are inculcated by creating extra hardships and difficulties for vulnerable people – which at the same time can apparently be administratively or legally circumvented by cumbersome approaches like wills, appeals to MPs or (it seems, possibly) attempts at adoption?

Read the full written answer by the Ministry of Social and Family Development here.