Thursday, 01 September 2016

Same-sex couples have the right to adopt in Victoria

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission welcomes the commencement of the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2015 (Vic), which allows couples to adopt regardless of their sex or gender identity.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton 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 Hilton said.

Ms Hilton expressed her disappointment that the amendment to the Bill allows agencies to discriminate on religious grounds.

"It is disappointing that agencies can continue to discriminate against people on the basis of religious beliefs."

The Bill brings the Adoption Act more in step with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, 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 non-gender 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 Hilton.

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