Currently, same-sex couples are not able to adopt in Victoria. This means many children already being raised by same-sex couples do not have the certainty of a clear legal connection to one or both parents.
The Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2015 being introduced this week will remove discrimination against children of same-sex parents from the Adoption Act 1984. It will allow couples to adopt regardless of their sex or gender identity.
The Bill will also amend the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 so adoption providers cannot invoke religious exemptions to discriminate against same-sex couples.
Victoria will also introduce the Relationships Amendment Bill 2015, which will enable more couples to have their relationships formally recognised under Victorian law.
Relationships formalised under equivalent interstate and international laws, including same-sex marriages, will be automatically recognised as registered domestic relationships, without those parties being required to re-register their relationship in Victoria.
The changes will also mean only one partner in a domestic relationship will be required to live in Victoria in order for the relationship to be registered. Previously both partners were required to reside in the State.
These amendments will enhance the rights of LGBTI couples in many situations, including when discussing a partner’s health information with a doctor in an emergency.