Premier Daniel Andrews said in a brief statement: “After years of waiting by LGBTI families Adoption Equality has now passed the Victorian Parliament and will be law. I couldn’t be prouder.”
The Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill was debated in the Lower House this afternoon and passed unopposed. Labor accepted an amended version of The Bill which will give religious agencies the right to refuse adoption to gay couples.
Rainbow Families Council Co-Convenor Amelia Basset said the passing of the bill was a victory. “We are thrilled to have achieved a law reform that we’ve pursued for over a decade, and we are especially thrilled for the hundreds of families that will be positively impacted by the reform,” said Ms Bassett.
“This reflects the growing understanding among legislators and the broader community that it’s love that makes a family, not just biology. Our campaign is, and has always been, about the rights and best interests of children. We are exasperated and frustrated that religious exemptions remain in place but pleased that the majority of faith-based service providers support this reform.”
While the Bill was passed and will become law, Sean Mulcahy, Co-Convenor of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby said he was disappointed that a clause to remove religious exemptions did not pass.
“We will continue to advocate for a broader review of religious exemptions with a view to ensuring no lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex person is turned away from services simply because of who they are,” said Mr Mulcahy. “We firmly believe that children’s rights, welfare and best interests must never be trumped by the religious beliefs of a state-funded service provider.”
“We welcome Minister Foley’s declaration that Government will work with providers to ensure non-discrimination and that no child or family is left behind. We signal our appreciation to CatholicCare for their engagement in these discussions. We will continue to monitor developments in this space.”
Minister for Equality, Martin Foley said: “After 15 years of struggle Victoria now has Adoption Equality. I pay tribute to the work of gender diverse & same sex families in achieving this milestone. Whilst the work of equality is never done this is a major milestone. Above all it is to recognise the rights of children and loving parents. It is Love and Families – in all their glorious diversity that we mark today.”