I live in South Australia with my family. I am a dad and I am gay. This petition is important to me, my family, and many other same sex-couples, singles, gay and lesbian foster carers and those in second parent relationships who want to become recognised families, through adoption, but are living in South Australia.
My husband and I have been together for 12 years, we are in a committed partnership. We adopted our sons who are aged 5 and 3 years, in the UK between the years 2011-2013. Same sex adoption in the UK was legalised according to the Adoption and Children Act of 2002 - entered into force in 2005.
We feel blessed to now be living in South Australia, one of the most beautiful parts of the world, but saddened by the fact that our family is not recognised, not valued, and not equal in the eyes of the law, simply because we are a same sex couple. Saddened that there are many children, at this very moment, that need love, stability and a chance at a better future, and the families that could adopt them and give these very things are tied up in red tape, or excluded because of their sexuality, or status as a same sex couple.
Firstly, the process of adoption across Australia is one that requires radical reforms (Adoption Act 1988, Adoption Regualtions, 2004) to make it easier for individuals and couples regardless of sexual orientation to navigate and evidence robustly their suitability to meet a vulnerable child’s needs. We want same-sex couples, individuals and same sex stepparents in South Australia to be included within these reforms.
Secondly, the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales have changed their approach and given same sex couples, LGBT individuals and same sex stepparents the lawful right to have their suitability assessed to be adoptive parents. In July 2009 the NSW Law and Justice Committee decided that the Adoption Act 2000 should be amended to allow same-sex couples the right to adopt. Committee chair Christine Robertson said,
"The committee has concluded that reform to allow same-sex couples to adopt will help to ensure that the best interests of children are met by our adoption laws and all recommendations were implemented in 2010”.
Additionally, in 2011 a year long enquiry in South Australia, undertaken by the Social Development Committee into same-sex parenting recommended changes to existing South Australian laws to remove discrimination against same-sex parents wanting to adopt.
So why in 2015 has nothing changed in South Australia ?
Our family is proof that adopted children’s best interests are served by the presence of capable individuals, or couples, regardless of their sexuality. We have had nothing but positive re-enforcement from all the people we have met in South Australia. They praise us for being bold, for providing a safe, loving and happy environment for our sons, in order that they may develop to their full potential.
So why is it that other same sex couples are not afforded this right in South Australia ?
We worry, often, about the future, and how it is that we will come to explain to our children that the State, the community they live in and contribute to, defines their family as lesser,unrecognised, dismissed in the eyes of the law.
Finally, we should all agree that in this day and age children should be taught about equality, given techniques to avoid discrimination and the confidence to help others understand where their own prejudice is drawn from.
Please sign this petition, so that someone, somewhere will see the need to bring about this change in South Australia.
Shaun, Blue, Joshi and Dylan x
*** The South Australian Adoption Law Reform Committee closed for submissions on the 30th May 2015 - we look forward to the publication of the report which will be delivered to the Child and Education Minister on the 30th September 2015.
Any enquiries regarding the review process please email