SOUTH Australia is now one step closer to legalising adoptions for same-sex couples and singles after the state government recently announced a review into the state’s adoption laws.
The state’s Education and Child Development Minister Jennifer Rankine said on the weekend the formation of a review committee will consider updating the SA’s Adoption Act, which has largely remained untouched since it was passed in 1988.
Shaun Douglas-Galley, who moved to Australia from the UK with his husband Blue and two children (pictured above), Dylan (2) and Joshi (4), was shocked to learn that adoptions by same-sex couples were illegal in the state.
He began a petition for the state government to amend its adoption laws in April and has since captured both the attention of the media and couples in the LGBTI community.
“I have been with my husband for 11 years, five of those in a recognised civil partnership in the UK. We adopted our sons in the UK between 2011-2013,” Douglas-Galley told the Star Observer.
“As a parent, we want our children to feel included, equal, in the state that they live in and contribute to. The idea that their family is somehow outside of the law is concerning, both now and for the future.”
A statement on Douglas-Galley’s online petition, which has so far garnered over 3000 signatures, reads: “Our family is proof that adopted children’s best interests are served by the presence of capable individuals, or couples, regardless of their sexuality.”
The review committee is expected to release a discussion paper in November for public consultation, which will encourage same-sex couples and singles to engage in the debate and make submissions.
“We want the LGBTI community to have a role in the public consultation before the committee reports to Government in June 2015,” Douglas-Galley said.
“The notion that just because you are gay, you don’t want a family, or should be denied the means to have a family, no longer holds up in modern western societies.”
PFLAG national spokesperson Shelley Argent has welcomed the review by the SA Government and is hopeful the adoption laws will be amended.
“Most Australian states are slow due to myths and out-dated beliefs and fears. We can only hope that SA see these for what they are, which is nonsense,” Argent told the Star Observer.
“We hope that those on the review board check studies that show parents of same sex attraction make very worthy parents and children don’t care about gender of parents but the love and support given to them is more important. “
Earlier this month, a report released by researchers from the University of Melbourne showed that children in same-sex couples fared just as well as, or even better than, children from traditional families when it came to physical, mental and emotional health.
The review committee is expected to submit its final report to government in June 2015.