COUPLES in same-sex relationships will now be able to adopt children in Queensland.

Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman announced the government would overturn discriminatory laws following a wide-ranging review of the state’s Adoption Act 2009.

“I am proud we are removing one of the last discriminatory barriers that prevents LGBTI Queenslanders from being able to adopt a child,” she said.

“It is time Queensland joined other Australian states and territories to remove this archaic chapter from our adoption laws.

“As a society we do not tolerate discrimination. It is only fair that members of the LGBTI community have the same rights as any other Queenslander and that includes the right to raise a family with an adopted child.”

Queenslanders were asked to share their experiences in the statutory review of adoption and how they thought the process could be improved.

The reforms will bring Queensland in line with New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia in allowing adoption by same-sex couples and single people.

Fentiman said adoption provides a permanent family and legal identity for a small number of children in Queensland who cannot live with their birth family.

Family lawyer Stephen Page – winner of the Queens’ Ball 2015 Advocate of the Year award – has been working with LGBTI people since the 1980s. Page recalled one couple who were willing to adopt one of their foster children, a move endorsed by the child’s biological mother, but was rejected because the couple were lesbians.

“Some years ago, I acted for a couple who were asked to care for a baby permanently,” he said.

“They were great carers, they would have been superb candidates to adopt the child but, they were two women.

“The biological mother wanted the adoption to go through but they couldn’t adopt the child… the law shouldn’t discriminate.”

Page commended the government for making the changes in the adoption law and described it as a great achievement.

“I think this a wonderful catch up with reality. It’s another change towards equality, it’s good” he said.

“I’ve been in family law for awhile but it doesn’t take long to realise, the issue is not about the sexuality of parents but the quality of care given to the child, which is why we say it’s best to focus on the best candidates to parent that child.

“For the child it’s transformative.”

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