Rainbow families are asking for explanations following the NSW Government’s decision to stall on legislation reform that would allow same-sex couples to adopt.
Community Services minister Linda Burney last week announced “at this stage” no changes would be made to adoption legislation.
“Members were unable to reach a consensus, reflecting divisions on this issue in the wider community,” Burney said.
“As a result of these concerns, the Government is not satisfied there is broad enough community support to justify new state legislation at this stage.”
Gay Dads NSW spokesman Anthony Brien said the decision “highlighted the fact the Government is still blinded by some Christian ideal”.
“There are many children in need of adoption into a loving, caring family environment. By refusing to accept same-sex couples as capable parents, they are denying many children the opportunity for adoption,” he told Sydney Star Observer.
“Our Government somehow believes that sexuality and parenting ability are linked. Can it explain to our children why it thinks their parents are not as good as heterosexual parents and are not allowed to adopt another child into their family?”
Rights advocates were equally disappointed by the news. Rainbow Labor co-convenor Jessica Epps labelled the decision “an appallingly gutless response”.
“This do-nothing approach deprives children of access to loving and stable adoptive parents and denies same-sex couples their basic equality,” she said.
NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Kellie McDonald said the decision would not stop the Lobby from continuing its campaign.
“It’s the political climate at the moment which is stopping the Government from pushing it through, which is unfortunate given they want to act in the best interest of the child,” McDonald said.
“We’re incredibly frustrated that they’re refusing to act, but we’ve worked too hard not to let it slip away. We will make sure it stays on the agenda. We don’t know what’s going to happen politically this year but we have met with the Opposition and are talking to them in case we get a shift in government.”
Burney said the “door is not closed and there will be continuing discussions on this”, but could not give a definitive timeframe.
“As Minister for Community Services, I’ve seen many examples of successful parenting and fostering by gay and lesbian couples. Adoption provides permanence, security and stability — all of which are critically important for children’s development,” she said.
“I understand that some people will be unhappy with this decision but let me assure them that the issue will continue to be discussed.”

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