Last week the NSW Government announced an inquiry into same-sex adoption. This inquiry follows in the footsteps of reforms which made it easier for foster carers and step-parents to adopt children in their care.

Despite aiming to make the adoption system easier and fairer, the issue of same-sex adoption was a notable omission from these reforms.

The Adoption Act remains the last piece of NSW law which discriminates against same-sex couples. In NSW, individual lesbians and gay men can apply to be assessed for adoption eligibility, but same-sex couples cannot. This is nothing short of ludicrous and only serves to deny children the security of two legally recognised parents.

While the parenting reforms that came into effect in September recognise the majority of parents and children in our community, same-sex adoption is urgently needed for those still missing out on the legal and social recognition they deserve.

The ability of same-sex couples to adopt would ensure children with same-sex parents could have two legally recognised parents for the purposes of medical consent, inheritance and parental authority.

Undoubtedly this issue will be hotly contested on both sides of the debate. Conservative groups have fought strongly against same-sex adoption in the past, demonising lesbians and gay men as a corrupting influence on children and even as pedophiles. The reality they choose to ignore is the thousands of children in Australia with same-sex parents who grow up as happy and healthy as any other child.

Arguments against same-sex adoption in the name of the best interests of the child couldn’t be further from the truth. Without a shadow of a doubt the best thing for children with same-sex parents would be to have those parents recognised in the eyes of the law.

This move by the NSW Government is an encouraging one, given their recent commitment to same-sex equality. As always though, the fight is far from over. As a community we must remain loud and proud if our children are to have the rights they deserve. Stay tuned as the GLRL will soon announce how you can get involved in the push for adoption equality.

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