Adoption frenzy confuses

Adoption frenzy confuses

The media frenzy over the Howard Government’s proposal to ban same-sex couples from adopting overseas children had queer activists confused and seething last week.

The proposed ban is not new and has been included on the parliamentary list for three years, NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokesman Ghassan Kassisieh said.

Philip Ruddock indicated to activists in a meeting earlier this month that the bill was not a priority for the Government.

Kassisieh said he had not received any further indication that the bill had been “bumped up in priority” since that time. The lobby would still take precautions in case the bill did eventuate, he added.

It was not clear how an overseas adoption ban would operate, according to Kassisieh. It could prevent same-sex couples from adopting or it could refuse to recognise children already adopted overseas.

“A ban would entrench discrimination into the law, which would be very difficult to remove,” Kassisieh said.

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle said her party condemned the Government’s extreme move towards legally-entrenched discrimination against the gay and lesbian community.

She pointed to studies by the American Psychological Association which found no developmental differences between children raised in same-sex households and those raised in heterosexual househoulds.

Australian Coalition for Equality spokesman Rodney Croome said the Government “clearly believes” children are better off in a Chinese orphanage or on the streets of Manila than in the care of a loving same-sex couple in Australia.

Kassisieh said same-sex overseas adoption required a state law that recognised same-sex adoption; same-sex adoption recognition by the child’s country of origin; and an agreement between Australia and that country.

WA and ACT were the only Australian states that recognised same-sex adoption. Australia has no adoption agreements with any sending countries.

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