Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brisbane Times - “Gay couples 'should be allowed adopt'” by Nick Ralston


Laws should be altered to allow same-sex couples to adopt in NSW because it's in the best interests of children, a parliamentary inquiry has found.

The majority of a six-person upper house committee which examined same-sex adoption has recommended amendments be made to definitions of "couple" and "de facto relationship" in the Adoption Act 2000.

Committee chair, Labor's Christine Robertson, said same sex-parents should be able to be assessed on the same terms as anyone else on whether they were suitable to adopt a child.

She said the committee found reforming the laws to allow same-sex couples to adopt would "ensure the best interests of children" are met by NSW's adoption laws.

This was because it would broaden the pool of applications from which the most appropriate parents for a child were selected.

It would also allow those children currently in foster care with same-sex couples to be adopted.

"This reform will also address discrimination against same-sex couples and their children, removing one of the final areas of NSW law where discrimination against gay and lesbian people has been allowed to remain," Ms Robertson said in a statement.

However, the committee has recommended that on the basis of religious freedom, an amendment should also be made to the Anti-Discrimination Act in relation to faith-based adoption agencies and same-sex couples.

Faith-based agencies would therefore be allowed to pass on the details of a same-sex couple to another adoption agency to assist them.

Liberal upper house MP John Ajaka issued a dissenting statement in the report, recommending that if same-sex couples are allowed to adopt, they should only be allowed to adopt children that are known to them.

Labor's Greg Donnelly went against the committee's findings, saying he held the view it is the birthright of every child to be raised by a mother and a father.

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