Amidst a growing number of submissions arguing against the removal of same-sex discrimination in adoption, the Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby is urging the GLBT community and supporters to make a submission to the NSW Inquiry into Adoption by Same Sex Couples.

The closing date for submissions is this Friday, 13 February 2009.

The GLRL has been empowering same-sex families and couples with stories of discrimination to write their own powerful submissions to the inquiry. But these kids, families and couples now need everyone’s support, said Emily Gray, Convenor of the GLRL.

With media attention and a broad spectrum of political views, it can be extremely intimidating for the families most affected by discrimination to speak up for equal rights. By making a short submission, every member of the GLBT community can do their part in supporting equality and giving a boost to these brave kids, parents and couples.

The GLRL has been working extensively on its own submission which argues for the:

* The removal of all discrimination against same-sex couples in the Adoption Act
* The insertion of a new provision which will allow a same-sex partner to adopt their partner’s child where the existing parent(s) consent, and
* The consideration of how best to legally recognise families with more than two parents.

Our submission emphasises that adoption reform furthers the best interests of children and is consistent with child welfare and human rights principles. Denying children the legal recognition of their parents means kids could miss out on a host of entitlements and legal protections, such as inheritance rights and child support, added Gray.

On the issue of adopting unrelated children, we are saying that same-sex couples should be judged on their individual merits, like all other couples and individuals. It is their ability to provide a stable and loving home to a child which should be judged, not their sexual orientation.

Submissions to the adoption inquiry can be submitted via email ([email protected]). Submissions must be received by 13 February 2009 and can be as long or as short as you like. Personal stories are encouraged.

Some talking points for submissions may include:

* All the credible research confirms that children are not disadvantaged by having lesbian and gay parents.

* Discrimination against same-sex couples hurts children with gay and lesbian parents by denying legal and social recognition to their families. Legal recognition would give same-sex parents the power to consent to medical treatment for their child, sign permission notes and exercise parental authority without question or the need for court orders. Children can also miss out on inheritance entitlements.

* It makes no sense to allow individual lesbians and gay men to apply for adoption, but not same-sex couples.

* Same-sex couples have been actively recruited for many years, and provide wonderful foster care for children in need.

* Discrimination against gays and lesbians in adoption law perpetuates hurtful myths that lesbians and gay men pose a risk to children. This reflects unfairly on the valuable contributions of many same-sex parents, and all lesbians and gay men who work with children as teachers, youth workers and carers.

* Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory have same-sex adoption equality. Tasmania also allows same-sex couples to adopt a partner’s child.

* Since 1999, NSW has progressively removed all discrimination against same-sex couples -“ adoption being the last significant area of discrimination.

A sample submission can be downloaded from the Lobby’s website.

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