Same-sex Adoption Bill
The law should protect children's rights and support all loving families, and I am proud to have introduced a Private Member's Bill that would allow adoption for same-sex couples. I call on the Government and Opposition to support equality through my Adoption Amendment (Same Sex Couples) Bill.
Currently a child can't be adopted by their parent's same-sex partner, yet can be adopted by their parent's heterosexual partner. 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.
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, and my speech referred to two examples of typical situations where children miss out.
The bill 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.
There have been recommendations for this reform since 1997, and legislation has already been changed to allow same-sex adoption in Western Australia and Australian Capital Territory.
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.
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.