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9 September 2010 - Adoption reform removes final piece of discrimination

The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (GLRL) celebrates the passing of Clover Moore’s Adoption Amendment (Same-Sex Couples) Bill which amends the NSW Adoption Act to permit same-sex couples eligibility to adopt.

This historic reform removes the last piece of direct legislative discrimination against same-sex couples in NSW.

Previous heterosexual definitions of ‘de facto partner’, ‘couple’ and ‘spouse’ in the NSW Adoption Act, has been amended, to give all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, the eligibility to adopt.

Kellie McDonald, GLRL Convenor, said, “We are very pleased that NSW Parliament has acted in the best interests of children, ensuring all children are able to have two legally recognised parents, regardless of their family structure.”

Senthorun Raj, GLRL Policy and Development Coordinator, noted that, “Same-sex couples, like all other prospective adoptive parents, will now be judged on their individual merits and their capacity to provide a loving and stable home for a child.”

The Bill also amends stepparent adoption provisions that will allow for the legal recognition of same-sex step parents and long-term foster carers.

Amendments to the Bill also ensure that relinquishing parents will have greater access to information on prospective adoptive parents and can express their wishes for the preferred background, beliefs and domestic relationship of these prospective adoptive parents.

Ms McDonald said, “We strongly support the rights of birth parents to determine the best family for their child.”

However, the GLRL is concerned by the specific statutory exemptions available to faith-based agencies.

Mr Raj added, “Publicly funded organisations, providing adoption services, should not be entitled to discriminate on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Adoption reform in NSW follows reforms in Western Australia, the ACT, and Tasmania (in co-parenting circumstances) to permit same-sex couples the ability to adopt.

The GLRL sincerely thanks all NSW parliamentarians, child welfare agencies and community members who supported the Bill.