Du Toit and Vos v Minister for Welfare and Population Development: 10 Sep 2002

(South African Constitutional Court) Prospective adoptive parents were a same-sex couple who challenged laws preventing them from adopting. The court said: ‘In their current form the impugned provisions exclude from their ambit potential joint adoptive parents who are unmarried, but who are partners in permanent same-sex life partnerships and who would otherwise meet the criteria set out in section 18 of the Child Care Act . . Their exclusion surely defeats the very essence and social purpose of adoption which is to provide the stability, commitment, affection and support important to a child’s development, which can be offered by suitably qualified persons . . Excluding partners in same sex life partnerships from adopting children jointly where they would otherwise be suitable to do so is in conflict with the principle [of the paramountcy of the interests of the child] . . It is clear from the evidence in this case that even though persons such as the applicants are suitable to adopt children jointly and provide them with family care, they cannot do so. The impugned provisions . . thus deprive children of the possibility of a loving and stable family life . . The provisions of the Child Care Act thus fail to accord paramountcy to the best interests of the children.’


(2002) 13 BHRC 187, [2002] ZACC 20, CCT 40/01




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedIn re P and Others, (Adoption: Unmarried couple) (Northern Ireland); In re G HL 18-Jun-2008
The applicants complained that as an unmarried couple they had been excluded from consideration as adopters.
Held: Northern Ireland legislation had not moved in the same way as it had for other jurisdictions within the UK. The greater . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Constitutional, Human Rights, Discrimination

Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.270010