On 1 September 2016 changes to the Adoption Amendments (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Act 2015 came into effect.
The changes to the Act represent a historical step forward in the fight for equality for Victoria’s LGBTI community.
The changes allow couples in Victoria to adopt regardless of their sex or gender identity and achieve the important objective of permitting same-sex couples to adopt in the same circumstances as heterosexual couples. The exception being that the Act includes a religious exemption such that faith based organisations can refuse an adoption by a same-sex couple.
The bill did not originally allow religious organisations to refuse an adoption by a same-sex couple, but the Upper House amended the bill to include the religious exemption. In response the Victorian Minister for Equality Martin Foley said in late 2015, “In the delivery of state services, the Liberal party voted to continue allowing discrimination against same-sex families and their children.”
ABC news reported on 9 December 2015 that faced with the decision to reject the amendment or withdraw the bill all together the Government accepted the changes in order to enact the bill.
The reforms are an important part of the Andrews Labour Government’s equality agenda for LGBTI Victorians. The act reflects the fact that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity is distinct from their capacity to be a loving and caring parent.
“This law brings much needed certainty for many children and their parents who currently live in a legal haze in terms of their relationships with the people they love,” says Victoria’s Equality Minister Martin Foley.
Nicholes Family Lawyers have followed the progress of the law reform from early 2015 when the Minister for Equality, Martin Foley, first announced the Labor Government’s decision to commission the review.
Nicholes Family Lawyers have experience in the adoption process and are available to provide advice and assistance to applicants.