The Rainbow Families Council of Victoria has welcomed a Victorian Labor Party move to endorse same-sex couple adoption rights.

The party’s state conference at the weekend also passed a motion calling for same-sex marriage.

Rainbow Families Council co-convenor Brian Barry told the Star Observer changing Victoria’s adoption laws is a “pivotal plank” in improving the legal rights of rainbow families.

“It’s terrific to see this issue gaining profile because it’s a really necessary change and it’s one that doesn’t get much notice,” Barry said.

“It’s as straightforward as a level playing field in terms of recognition of what constitutes a family.”

Barry also welcomed the party’s support of same-sex marriage, saying change would break down “institutionalised homophobia”.

The motion calling for Victoria to allow same-sex adoption was moved by Albert Park MP Martin Foley who said it’s time Victoria overturns its ban in line with recommendations made by the Victorian Law Reform Commission in 2007.

“Adoption was one of the remaining areas left out of the 2009 ART [Assisted Reproductive Technology] changes where a large bulk of these recommendations were put in place,” Foley told the Star Observer.

“There are so many anomalies and injustices. That GLBTI people can foster care in this state and not adopt simply makes no sense. Reform is needed.”

Victorian Rainbow Labor executive member Wil Stracke said the group supported the adoption motion, however, its full focus is on the party’s December national conference and the push for marriage.

“The fact that so many state and territory ALP conferences now have supported marriage equality, we hope that will generate some momentum leading into the national conference,” Stracke told the Star Observer.

“Rainbow Labor Victoria’s done a lot of work in the last few months to talk to rank-and-file members on the issue, why we think it’s important and answered questions and dealt with some of the misconceptions.

“[Marriage equality has] been so strongly supported at all of the state levels, we’d say that’s a good sign for the ALP and grassroots support … and we think that change should be reflected in the national platform.”

More than 50 Victorian branches of the party have endorsed marriage equality.

The Victorian Labor Party passed a similar motion for marriage equality in 2009. Another motion failed to get support earlier this year as there were not enough members on the floor to pass it.

All state Labor branches have now given the green light to amend the Marriage Act to allow same-sex marriage, except NSW, which has deferred debate until Labor’s national conference in December.

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