The Northern Territory has passed new adoption laws allowing same-sex couples to adopt children for the first time.

The Adoption of Children Legislation Amendment (Equality) Bill 2017 was passed through parliament yesterday, removing pre-existing discrimination against same-couples.

The move makes the Northern Territory the last Australian state or territory to allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, Anna Brown, welcomed the news.

“The Northern Territory joins the rest of Australia in recognising that what matters most is that children grow up in loving and safe homes – regardless of the gender of the people that care for them,” she said.

“Now that marriage equality has passed nationally, it’s important we bring the laws in every state in line with modern community values and remove every last stain of discrimination against LGBTI people from the statute books across this country.”

While same-sex couples in the Northern Territory were already raising children in foster and permanent care, they were previously prevented from adoption children even where it would have been in the child’s best interests.

Brown said the amended legislation will make a significant difference to children already being raised by same-sex couples.

“This will finally give them the emotional and legal stability that’s long overdue,” she said.

Along with adoption reform, the Northern Territory government has committed to dealing with the legacy of criminal convictions for homosexual offences.

During the postal survey Rainbow Families Victoria’s Felicity Marlowe penned an opinion piece on the marriage debate and its impact on her rainbow family.

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