Increased adoption rights for Tasmanian same-sex couples
Same-sex couples in Tasmania will be allowed to adopt local and overseas children under changes being considered by the State Government.
Presently, same-sex couples in the state may only adopt children they are already related to or who are in the custody of their partner, otherwise referred to as ‘known children’.
Although Tasmanian law also recognises same-sex couples as parents, including the same-sex partners of mothers who have children through IVF treatment, same-sex couples are currently precluded from adopting ‘unknown children’ locally as well as from overseas.
The amendment proposed by Minister for Children, Michelle O’Byrne (pictured), would allow same-sex couples to adopt ‘unknown’ children who have been relinquished by their birth parents and are available for adoption to suitable parents.
“The most important priority is that all children are raised in a loving, supportive family environment, and our existing legislation clearly recognises that same-sex couples are as capable of providing such an environment as any other couple,” O’Byrne said.
The proposed changes have angered the Australian Christian Lobby, with state director Mark Brown saying that children’s rights should “come before adults’ desires”.
“We are opposed to any breakage in the mother-father parenting role ... that’s obviously the natural role.”
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Crome, rejected those views and said the reform is in the best interests of children, particularly those who are currently being fostered by same-sex partners.
“I find it heartless that the Christian Lobby would deprive a child of the best possible home life just because of its hardline and narrow views on what a family should be.
“Same-sex couples have been fostering children in Tasmania for many years and in some cases it is in the child’s best interest to be adopted by these foster parents,” Croome added.
“Love is what makes a family, not the gender of the parents.”
Same-sex couples can currently adopt children relinquished by other people in the ACT, WA and NSW.