A strong community response to the state government’s parenting inquiry could see gay and lesbian couples win the right to adopt children, activists believe.
The Department of Community Services has called for public submissions as part of a review of the NSW Adoption Act, a report on which will be tabled in parliament by November.
The review would examine same-sex parenting rights, Community Services minister Reba Meagher told Independent Bligh MP Clover Moore in a letter last year.
At present, the legislation blocks same-sex couples from adopting children.
It does not allow the non-biological parent in a gay or lesbian relationship to adopt their partner’s biological child, nor does it allow gay men and lesbians to be recognised as step-parents.
Single gay men and lesbians, however, are eligible to adopt.
The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby is confident a strong community response could tip the balance in favour of parenting reform.
Lobby co-convenor David Scamell told Sydney Star Observer there was a strong case for change to NSW adoption law to include same-sex couples.
We believe it’s important for all members of the community, not just those who are parents [but] those who believe in parenting rights for the gay and lesbian community, to make a submission to this inquiry, he said.
We are quite confident that if we do have a good outcome from this inquiry it will give a strong impetus for the minister and the government to take up the lead and amend the Adoption Act.
Clover Moore also urged the government to equalise adoption law.
While the current Adoption Act attempts to acknowledge that family structures differ, there can be no true acknowledgment of the diversity of families without recognising same-sex couples as eligible to parent, Moore told the Star in a statement.
A spokesperson for Reba Meagher told the Star the review would consider all submissions received by the deadline on 31 May.
Information and advice about making a submission are due to be posted on the Lobby’s website by the end of this week.
Details of the review and submission process are also available on the Department of Community Services website.