Same-sex couples may have the right to adopt in NSW before year’s end.
The ALP, Liberals and Nationals have all granted their members a conscience vote on MP Clover Moore’s Adoption Amendment (Same-Sex Couples) Bill, which is likely to be debated in August.
The bill has the support of the Greens in the Legislative Council.
“Both the NSW Liberals and the Nationals will have a conscience vote on this Bill,” a spokesman for Opposition leader Barry O’Farrell said.
“This is a matter for individual MPs to determine their own position and to vote according to their view. In our party’s tradition such votes are seen as a strength that reflect the different opinions that exist in the community on these issues.”
Premier Kristina Keneally told Southern Star the bill had her in-principle support and that she would take part in debate over it.
“I know of … same-sex couples who successfully foster children but are unable to adopt them,” Keneally said. “I also personally know same-sex couples who are raising children together. Like all good parents, they love their children and want the very best for them.”
Keneally said her faith was no barrier to supporting the bill, though she expected there would be some critics.
“What I know as a Christian, as a Catholic, is that Jesus himself was about love.
“Jesus loved all and he accepted all and for me that is the strongest message that comes out of the gospels. When I see gay and lesbian people giving that unselfish love to a child, that’s something that I … want to support.
“However, I am aware that there are very deeply held, divergent views on this issue and adoption by same-sex couples is a sensitive issue for the [wider] community.”
NSW GLRL co-convenor Kellie McDonald welcomed Moore’s bill.
“These amendments will enable same-sex couples to apply to become legal parents of children in their care, giving their children access to rights and entitlements such as a parent’s superannuation or worker’s compensation if their parent is injured at work,” McDonald said.
“Same-sex couples, like all other prospective adoptive parents, should be judged on their individual merits and their capacity to provide a loving and stable home for a child. Sexual orientation is not a meaningful indicator of parenting ability.”
“There is no evidence to suggest that a person’s sexual orientation has any bearing on their suitability to be an adoptive parent, therefore there is no reason to legislate to exclude someone from being able to adopt on the basis of their homosexual orientation or family arrangements,” Clover Moore told Parliament in presenting her bill on Thursday.