SAME-SEX couples will now be able to adopt in Queensland after adoption law reform was passed in the state’s parliament.
The Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill was introduced by Labor MP Shannon Fentiman in September, before being voted on after a second reading late last night.
All Labor MPs and two independents voted yes, while all Liberal MPs and the two Katter MPs voted no.
Fentiman said Queensland had been barring the LGBTI community from meeting the needs of a child through adoption for too long.
“Earlier this year I met an incredible couple from Noosa, Julie Carrington and her partner Lee Sanson,” she said.
“Together they are bringing up their six-year-old daughter.
“Any thought of adoption has, up until this point, simply been off table for this family.
“Should this house pass this legislation today, the discrimination against Lee and Julie will end.”
The bill expands who is eligible to enter the adoption expression of interest register to include same-sex couples, single persons, and people undergoing fertility treatment.
It entirely removes the requirement that a person must have a spouse of another gender.
Fentiman said the same criteria and rigorous selection and assessment processes that currently apply to heterosexual couples will also apply to same-sex couples.
“Meeting the best interests, needs, and wellbeing of a child is not dependent on whether a child has parents who are of the same gender, opposite gender, or even whether they are raised by a single parent,” she said.
“In fact, there is clear evidence that regardless of the gender and sexuality of a child’s parents, it is positive relationships and a supportive, nurturing and loving home that provides the best outcomes for children.”
Labor MP Grace Grace said same-sex parents she knew were the main reason she voted in favour of the bill.
“Robert and Andy have raised Lily since she was a baby,” she said.
“She is now in high school and is a beautiful, well-adjusted, wonderful young woman.
“This morning when I saw Robert at the doctor with Lily I said to him – you won’t believe this, but tonight we’ll be debating the adoption bill.
“He was beaming. This is the reason these laws need to change.”