THE NSW Supreme Court has allowed a same-sex couple to adopt a four-year-old girl despite her Catholic birth parents’ opposition.
The girl has been raised by lesbian foster parents since the age of six months. The couple wanted to adopt her legally, but it was opposed by the birth family because the foster parents would not commit to a Catholic upbringing.
The birth father also told the court he was from a Catholic family and wanted his daughter raised in the faith.
The gay couple have been in a stable relationship for almost a decade. They told the court they couldn’t raise the girl Catholic due to the religion’s opposition to gay relationships.
Various experts testified that the child saw her foster parents as family and breaking that attachment would cause psychological harm.
Justice John Sacker found the birth parents were incapable of caring for the child and ruled that the foster parents be allowed to adopt her.
He said that while the law required cultural and religious ties to be preserved “as far as possible”, those factors should not outweigh the child’s best interests.
“While the birth parents’ religious beliefs must be respected, the proposed adoptive parents’ attitude to the Catholic faith requires equal respect,” he said.
The court also ruled that the child’s surname should be changed to that of her adoptive parents.
Adoption by same-sex couples has been permitted in NSW since 2010.