Adoption Equality Passes In Victoria, Allowing Same-Sex Adoption

3 min read
Adoption Equality Passes In Victoria, Allowing Same-Sex Adoption

Same-sex couples in Victoria are celebrating after the Victorian Parliament passed legislation that will allow them to legally adopt children.


The decision pleased same-sex couples and all those who had been involved and had supported the cause.

The bill was debated in the Lower House on the 9th of December and voted unanimously. However, this only came after amendments were made in the upper house following uproar by religious agencies, particularly the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

Originally, the bill did not allow religious organisations to refuse an adoption to gay couples, but the ACL pushed for faith-based exemptions earlier in the year, saying there should be “robust protections for adoption agencies to act in good faith meeting the best interests of the children”. They went on to say that the government allowing same-sex adoption “ignores the best interests of the children and violates their right to be raised by a mother and father”. .uk | Stay at Home

Many supporters of equality and same-sex families opposed the exemptions, saying that although it was good to see support from some for same-sex adoptions, the discrimination was clear.

Sean Mulch from the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby was particularly succinct in his response to the faith-based exemptions.

“It’s a great shame certain faith-based organisations will be able to turn away lesbian, gay, trans and intersex couples based purely [on] who they are,” he said.

Even Victorian Equality Minister Martin Foley rubbished the suggestion of faith-based exemptions.

“[It’s] just an institutional form of discrimination that says somehow or other, their loving families are of lesser value,” he said. “This sort of devaluing of loving families is rubbish in 2015.”

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However, despite much criticism from same-sex families and supporters from Victoria and abroad, the new laws do allow for faith-based exemptions against same-sex couples looking to adopt. This is contrary to their original statements, indicating that equality in the subject was not negotiable.

Foley noted that he was “deeply disappointed” that the exemptions would remain, and accused the Opposition of continuing a pattern of discriminations. But the Opposition’s equality minister David Davis said that he believed an appropriate balance had been struck.

Still, although the laws are not yet perfect in many eyes, the change in legislation is still being heralded as a success and a step forward for same-sex families. With Catholic adoption agency CatholicCare being the only faith-based group in the state to oppose same-sex adoption, the discrimination remains minimal.

Amelia Bassett, co-convenor of the Rainbow Families Council said that the change was a victory.

“This reflects the growing understanding among legislators and the broader community that it’s love that makes a family not just biology,” she said. However, she too was disappointed about the faith-based exemptions:

“We are exasperated and frustrated that religious exemptions remain in place but pleased that the majority of faith-based service providers support this reform.”

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Still enjoying their minor success, same-sex family supporters are happy to broadcast that this is not the end of their fight for equality in Australia, with many already planning a removal of the exemptions in the future.

Victorian Greens MP Sam Hibbins celebrated the landmark decision, but criticised the amendments:

“The Greens will continue fighting to achieve adoption equality in full,” he said.

What are your thoughts on the issue of same-sex adoption?

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Oceana Setaysha

Senior Writer A passionate writer since her early school days, Oceana has graduated from writing nonsense stories to crafting engaging content for...Read Morean online audience. She enjoys the flexibility to write about topics from lifestyle, to travel, to family. Although not currently fulfilling the job of parent, her eight nieces and nephews keep her, and her reluctant partner, practiced and on their toes. Oceana holds a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Writing and Indonesian, and has used her interest in languages to create a career online. She's also the resident blonde at, where she shares her, slightly dented, wisdom on photography, relationships, travel, and the quirks of a creative lifestyle. Read Less

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