Clover Moore MP, Member for Sydney, has introduced her Adoption Amendment (Same Sex Couples) Bill, which would allow same sex couples to adopt children, and calls on the Government and Opposition to support equality.
“Currently a child can’t be adopted by their parent’s same-sex partner yet can be adopted by their parent’s heterosexual partner,” Ms Moore said.
“Unlike heterosexual couples, same-sex couples can’t adopt a child together – one parent must adopt as an individual and the other has no legal standing as the co-parent, leaving their child in legal limbo.
“The law should protect children’s rights and support all loving families.
“Most same-sex adoptions involve “known” adoptions and step parenting situations where one partner brings children to a new relationship. These children deserve to have their parents legally recognised,” Ms Moore said.
The move is consistent with the recommendations of the 2009 Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice report, which found no evidence to suggest that same-sex couples should not be parents. Social science research shows that children benefit from positive relationships, and a supportive, nurturing and loving environment, regardless of parents’ sexuality.
The Australian Human Rights Commission says that excluding same-sex adoptions on the basis of sexuality breaches the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires that the best interests of a child be the paramount consideration.
Government and adoption agencies actively welcome same sex couples, and lesbian/and gay individuals can adopt.
“It is time we allowed same-sex couples to also adopt,” Ms Moore concluded.
There have been recommendations for this reform since 1997, and adoption law has been changed in Western Australia and Australian Capital Territory.