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Support Adoption Equality in Victoria

This petition had 1,161 supporters


Support Adoption Equality in Victoria, because love makes a family.

Many people don’t realise that there is still discrimination in Victorian adoption law. Although there are just a tiny number of infant adoptions each year, the ban against adoption by same-sex couples affects many hundreds of other vulnerable children.

Please sign this petition, to show Victorian politicians that our community supports adoption equality.

After a tough start and many foster placements, seven-year-old Thomas[1] is now thriving. He’s happy at home, he’s got good friends, and he’s loving grade 1 at his local school.

There’s just one big problem. Thomas could now be eligible for adoption, because recently his remaining biological parent died. But under current laws, he can’t be adopted by both of his two foster mums, who’ve given him a stable, safe and loving home as his permanent carers for five years.

Victorian laws still only let heterosexual couples adopt, and single people under special circumstances.

In 2007, after five years of exhaustive research as well as community and expert consultations, the Victorian Law Reform Commission strongly recommended adoption equality[2].

All credible studies before and since[3] clearly show that it’s the quality of parenting relationships that determines a child’s wellbeing, not the gender or sexual identity of their parents. [4]

The evidence is in – we know that it’s love that makes a family.

Foster agencies know that. That’s why so many children are in successful long-term placements with same-sex carers. Research also shows that the stability and legal certainty of adoption is very positive for children’s wellbeing[5].

Children with two foster mums or two foster dads deserve the chance of a life-long, legally recognised relationship with the people who have given them a safe and loving home.

It’s nothing special – just the same chance as children who happen to have been fostered by a heterosexual couple.

Adoption equality could also change the lives of other Victorian children, removing discrimination in step-parent adoption, enabling children to be adopted by relatives in a same-sex relationship if their parents die, and providing a way to legally recognise the parents of children conceived via surrogacy.

Same-sex couples can adopt in New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and the ACT. It’s well past time for Victoria to catch up.

We’ve seen some positive signs, with adoption equality policies from the Greens and now Labor, and with Premier Denis Napthine expressing his personal support for diverse families[6].

We are calling for real action on adoption equality. We are calling for all parties to commit to removing discrimination in adoption law in the first 100 days of the next Parliament. We reiterate that the evidence is in. No more inquiries, no more reports – just the equality these kids deserve.

It’s a child’s rights issue. It’s about legal equality for Thomas, and hundreds, if not thousands, like him.

Please show your support by signing the petition and sharing widely.

[1] Not his real name.

[2] Victorian Law Reform Commission, Assisted Reproductive Technology And Adoption Enquiry Final Report, 2007, available at www.lawreform.vic.gov.au/projects/art-adoption/art-and-adoption-final-report

[3] Dempsey, D. Same-sex parented families in Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2013, available at www3.aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/same-sex-parented-families-australia   

[4]Crouch S, Waters E, McNair R, Power J and Davis E (2014). Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health 14:635 (available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/635/abstract)

[5] Farr,R, Forsell,S and Patterson, C.J. Parenting and Child Development in Adoptive Families: Does Parental Sexual Orientation Matter? 2010 available at http://people.virginia.edu/~cjp/articles/ffp10b.pdf

[6] Cook, H and Tomazin, F. “Napthine open to allowing gay adoption” The Age May 25, 2104 as available at http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/napthine-open-to-allowing-gay-adoption-20140524-38vsf.html



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