Gay couples in New South Wales will now have the ability to adopt following the new laws being approved in State parliament.
The Greens say they’ve been provided much more impetus in order to pursue the matter of gay marriage at Federal level following laws allowing same-sex partners to adopt passed in the New South Wales Parliament.
Gay rights activists are satisfied with the reforms, even though they permit religious adoption companies to sidestep discrimination procedures. However, the Australian Christian Lobby is unhappy with the new legislation and thinks that same-sex should not be allowed to adopt when there are plenty of suitable heterosexual couples that would also like a child.
Jim Wallace, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, believes that the NSW Government is not placing the interests of the child first.
“To argue that if we have this long line of prospective adoptive parents who are heterosexual ….. that giving children to very demanding gay rights activists can for a moment be in the child’s best interest – how could it possibly be when you have so many well-screened prospective adoptive heterosexual couples?” he said. “I mean it is a ridiculous argument.”
Mr Wallace says it is too difficult for a heterosexual mother and father to adopt children at birth, and that s exactly where state government authorities need to be focusing their efforts if they would like to increase the lot of children.
The Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby says there are hardly any adoptions by means of conventional methods presently. In reality there is no more than 20 a year in NSW. They are saying the law will provide the greatest help to the roughly 1500 children who already live with gay parents, many of them in foster care placements.
Their arguments might have been convincing to legislators in New South Wales, but Queensland claims it is not likely to follow suit. NSW Council for Civil Liberties secretary Stephen Blanks says “Some states are going to lag behind others, but eventually the good sense of this legislation and the good sense of parliamentarians voting in accordance with their conscience will eventually bring about reform so Australia has uniform laws in this area.”
The Greens hope the passage of the bill in NSW can lead the way for a 2nd evaluation of the Marriage Act at the federal level. At this time, the Act defines marriage as between a man and a woman and will not recognise gay marriage from other countries. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young states that it is actually at the top of her program for the next sitting of Parliament. “The first thing that I’ll be doing is introducing my private member’s bill to amend the Marriage Act allowing same-sex couples the same rights as everybody else – to celebrate their love,” she said.
Mr Blanks says the chances are greater that any move towards recognition of gay marriage will be imported from overseas. “As other countries around the world without great fanfare or trouble allow gay marriages, Australia will just look to be out of step.” he said. Mr Blanks says it is likely Australia will encounter legal problems, since gay and lesbian couples will move to Australia and will not have their marriages recognised.