INCLUDING public submissions in the Victorian Government’s review into adoption equality opens rainbow families up to potentially homophobic abuse, according to an advocacy group.

The government announced on Saturday a review of Victoria’s adoption laws, open to public submissions, to “consider the legal changes required” to permit adoption equality.

Community advocacy organisation Rainbow Families Council said that while they welcomed the government’s steps towards legislative change, they were concerned the review could attract negative contributions.

“Unfortunately, making it a public review also provides an opportunity for people to submit negative, homophobic or offensive submissions,” co-convenor Brian Barry said.

“We understand the government has already received some posts of this nature on social media.

“We are hopeful that rainbow families will be shielded from offensive submissions to the review and that the processes of making submissions respects the privacy and vulnerability of some families potentially affected by this legislative change.”

Rainbow Families Council had expressed concern prior to last year’s state election a review into adoption could further delay legislative change on the issue.

Adoption equality was a key election commitment from the Labor Government, which has promised the review will determine the best way to legislate on the issue, not whether to allow adoption equality at all.

Despite some concerns, community organisations have welcomed the announcement.

“There are hundreds of children living in rainbow families across Victoria who will positively benefit from this important reform,” Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Corey Irlam said.

“Children on permanent care orders who may become eligible for adoption by their carers; children with step-parents; children who may need to be adopted by family members — Victoria needs to provide these children the legal certainty of two parents.”

Law reform would bring Victoria into line with Tasmania, Western Australia, ACT and NSW, all of which allow same-sex couples to adopt.

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