Friday, 13 November 2015

Same-sex couples have the right to adopt

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission welcomes the move to legalise adoption by same-sex and non-gender specific couples in the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2015 (Vic) but is disappointed by the amendment to the Bill that allows agencies to discriminate on religious grounds.

Kate Jenkins said the Commission is pleased the law now reflects modern Victorian families and is an important step towards creating a diverse and inclusive Victoria.

“For too long same sex-couples have been discriminated against in legislation. The changes to the Adoption Act mean that same-sex and non-gender specific couples have the right to be jointly recognised as parents by Victorian law, changes that bring legal recognition and certainty to thousands of families around Victoria,” Ms Jenkins said.

“However it is disappointing that agencies can continue to discriminate against people on the basis of religious beliefs. Removing the religious exemption clause is a further step that needs to be taken to ensure equality for same-sex couples and their children.”

The Bill will bring the Adoption Act more in step with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, in its promotion of the right to recognition and equality before the law and the right that families are entitled to be protected, and that every child has the right to such protection as is in his or her best interests.

“Legalising same-sex and gender non-specific adoption is sure to make both a practical and symbolic difference to the lives of a number of children in Victoria, and that is something to be celebrated,” said Ms Jenkins.