The Queensland Government has introduced new discrimination against same-sex couples in state parenting legislation.

Adoption was restricted to married couples only, but will now extend to heterosexual de facto couples in the bill introduced to the Queensland Parliament last week.

Newly added criteria for adoption state that the couple may not be same-sex, pregnant, or have undergone fertility treatment in the previous six months.

Queenslanders have clearly told us the current adoption laws are not fair, we have listened, and we are responding with significant reform, Child Safety Minister Margaret Keech said in a statement.

These reforms are in line with the Bligh Government’s vision for a fairer Queensland.

PFLAG Brisbane was unimpressed with the limited scope of that vision and asked them to look again at the recent Galaxy Poll showing Queenslanders were ready to accept same-sex couples as equal parents. The same poll showed 60 percent also supported civil unions.

Same-sex couples and their children are now recognised federally thanks to the Rudd Government. It’s now time for the next Queensland Government, regardless of the party elected to govern, to grant these families the same rights and responsibilities as their heterosexual families enjoy, PFLAG Brisbane president Shelley Argent said.

Psychologist Paul Martin said the archaic laws validate homophobic behaviours and can lead to damage, suicide and substance abuse among GLBT people.

Changing these laws sends a very powerful message to our community that gays and lesbians are no longer considered disordered or incapable of being everything a heterosexual person can be.

Neither the Labor Government nor the opposition Nationals have made any commitment to reduce discrimination or introduce same-sex relationship recognition in the next term. Queensland will go to the polls no later than 5 December 2009.

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