The Queensland Government says it will overturn laws banning same-sex couples from adopting children.
Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman (pictured left, centre) said a review of the Adoption Act 2009 found “overwhelming support” to remove the discriminatory laws.
“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.”
Queensland is one of the last Australian states or territories to allow same-sex couples to adopt, lagging behind New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, Tasmania and Western Australia.
Ms Fentiman said the reforms, which will also legalise adoption by singles and couples undergoing fertility treatment, will be introduced to state parliament this month.
“Same-sex couples, single couples and couples undergoing IVF will be able to place their expressions of interest to the adoption services and they’ll do their best to find them a child in need of adoption,” Ms Fentiman said.
“There are a limited number of children put up for adoption every year and we work with the couples on the adoption register to find the best match.”
Lesbian couple Julie Carrington and Lea Sanson (pictured, below), who want to adopt their six-year-old girl, said the news was very emotional for them.
“We finally get to be her mummies and we’re very proud and very excited,” Julie said.
Stephen Page from Harrington Family Lawyers welcomed the reforms and said it was the quality of the parenting that mattered, not the parents’ sexuality.
“We’ve signed up to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and if we’re serious about that, the best interests of the child, we have to assess the best carers for each child and it shouldn’t be based on sexuality,” he said.
Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG) spokesperson Shelley Argent said the reforms would give the children emotional stability and let them “feel part of the family officially.”
The review of Queensland’s Adoption Act 2009 began in September last year, and Ms Fentiman said more than 350 Queenslanders and organisations had shared their experiences of adoption and how they thought the process could be improved.
“This review has given us the opportunity to make sure the legislation is up to date and reflects the needs and experiences of children requiring adoption,” she said.
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