Even if a same-sex couple happened to be the “most loving, caring, involved couple in the world”, Tasmania’s shadow minister for children has said gay foster carers should not be allowed to adopt children in their care.
Liberal MP Jacquie Petrusma, who grew up in a single parent family and was a single mother herself, said she would not support the Adoption Amendment Bill 2013 which would extend the adoption rights of same-sex and unmarried couples for children who are not their own biologically.
“Mr Deputy Speaker, as someone who grew up in a single parent household for a number of years and was a single mum for nine years, I passionately believe that a child should be given every opportunity to be raised by both a mum and a dad,” Petrusma told Parliament on Tuesday.
“I know that growing up, especially during my teenage years, I desperately wanted a dad who was involved in my life. If my mum had had a same-sex partner, even if both my mums had been the most loving, caring, involved couple in the world they still would not have been able to fill the gap in my life of meeting and wanting a close relationship with a dad.”
Petrusma added that even if she had had a same-sex partner, her own daughter would have still wanted a father.
The Tasmanian Liberals were allowed a conscience vote on the bill which also came under fire from Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Tasmanian director Mark Brown who urged the state government to abandon it.
Brown said adoption was about the needs of children, not the desires of adults.
“All things being equal, children have the right to both a mother and a father. We know that through tragedy or desertion this is not always possible but adoption is one area where governments can restore this important value for the benefit of children,” Brown said.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome told the Star Observer the ACL was putting its own prejudice against same-sex couples on to the wellbeing of children in foster care.
“The real life implication of this reform is that it will allow children who are in the foster care of same-sex couples to be adopted by those couples if it is in the best interests of those children, which in some cases it will be,” he said.
“There won’t be many of those cases but there doesn’t need to be many to justify this reform, there only needs to be one or two and we can be certain in the next few years that there will be one or two in Tasmania.”
Croome said the law change would also symbolically help children of same-sex couples, sending a message that same-sex families were no different to other families.
The Lower House overwhelmingly voted in favour of the bill 18-4 and it will now go to the Upper House for debate.
It’s been a decade since the Tasmanian Parliament voted to recognise same-sex couples and allowed step-parent adoption of children.
Same-sex adoption is already legal in Western Australia, NSW and the ACT.