Monday, May 5, 2014

[Australia] Australian Same-sex couples included in overseas adoption agreement for the first time - But State changes still needed

This is encouraging however I am cautious.  The state/federal nexus will be problematic (eg for Victoria) and as currently intercountry adoptions are run exclusively by religiously affliated agencies (which have always excluded glbti couples), I will wait to see something a little be more concrete before getting too excited about it.  The only positive sign is that South Africa has a constitution that recognises GLBTI people in it (the only one in the world) - that may bode well in this arrangement.

"SAME-sex couples are included in Australia’s new agreement with South Africa on overseas adoption announced today by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, after being excluded from every previous intercountry adoption agreement between Australia and another country.

A spokesperson for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet told the Star Observer the agreement with South Africa is the first such arrangement with a country that allows same-sex couples to adopt children.

Although there is currently inconsistency across Australian states and territories around same-sex adoption, same-sex couples can legally adopt in NSW, ACT, Tasmania and Western Australia. However, until now this has been irrelevant due to the explicit exclusion of same-sex couples from Australia’s intercountry adoption agreements.

The Prime Minister announced the agreement with South Africa today along with a range of reforms to streamline the overseas adoption process, allowing children to obtain Australian citizenship in their country of origin, and simplify visa processes. These reforms have come out of a new report by the Interdepartmental Committee on Intercountry Adoption.

The Prime Minister’s office confirmed the eligibility of same-sex couples to adopt under the new agreement with South Africa, and told the Star Observer  these reforms will consider inconsistencies between the states and territories on same-sex couples adopting".

Read More at Star Observer by Ben Riley

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