Lgbt parenting australia
- LGBT adoption and parenting in Australia
- South Australia
- Assisted reproduction and surrogacy
- Western Australia
- Same-sex step-parent adoption
- Legislative progress
- Rainbow Families is immensely proud to have been recognised for the support we provide to our community.
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
LGBT adoption and parenting in Australia
Where joint adoption of children by same-sex couples is legal, so too is step-parent adoption. In all jurisdictions within Australia, a lesbian co-mother or gay co-father may use stepparent adoption provisions, although female couples in those states whose children were born through assisted conception may not actually need to adopt them, as the law there presumes the mother's female partner to be a legal parent as long as she consented to the conception. As of 2017, all states and territories, allow both same-sex partners to have a legally recognised relationship with their child - except Western Australia within surrogacy.
Western Australia became the first Australian state to allow same-sex adoptions when its Labor government passed the Acts Amendment (Lesbian and Gay Law Reform) Act 2002 which in turn amended the Adoption Act 1994 (WA). This allowed same-sex couples to adopt in accordance with criteria that assesses the suitability of couples and individuals to be parents, regardless of sexual orientation.
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) issued a report in 2007 entitled National Inquiry into Discrimination against People in Same-Sex Relationships recommended amending or creating laws recognising the relationship between a child and both same-sex parents. In particular, "‘Stepparent adoption’ laws should more readily consider adoption by a lesbian co-mother or gay co-father. This will require amendments to remove the prohibition on same-sex stepparent adoption in all state and territory laws other than in WA, the ACT and Tasmania." The final report of the Same-Sex: Same Entitlements Inquiry was tabled in Parliament on 21 June 2007.
Law in Australia with regard to children is often based on what is considered to be in the best interest of the child. The traditional and often used assumption is that children need both a mother and a father, which plays an important role in divorce and custodial proceedings, and has carried over into adoption and fertility procedures. As of March 2018 all Australian states and territories allow adoption by same-sex couples.
Assisted reproduction and surrogacy
Australia's first legal gay adoption, by two men, occurred in Western Australia in June 2007. Subsequently, on 2 August 2007, the federal government under Prime Minister John Howard announced it would legislate to stop same-sex couples adopting a child from overseas, and would further not recognise adopted children of same-sex couples. The federal Coalition's proposed Family Law (Same Sex Adoption) Bill would amend the Family Law Act 1975 and override state and territory laws that currently cover international adoptions. The bill was due to be introduced in the spring 2007 session of parliament, but has been taken off the agenda following the 2007 federal election.
However, even those laws contain a general presumption against making an adoption order because an adoption order severs the legal relationship between the child and one of the child's birth parents. Due to the serious consequences of an adoption order, all step-parent adoption laws (including those applying to opposite-sex couples) contain a strong preference for dealing with new parenting arrangements through a parenting order rather than an adoption order.
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."
Alternately, the lesbian co-mother or gay co-father of a child may apply to the Family Court of Australia for a parenting order, as ‘other people significant to the care, welfare and development’ of the child. It provides an important "status quo" if the birth mother were to die, preventing other family members from taking immediate custody of the child.
Same-sex step-parent adoption
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In Queensland, same-sex couples have been legally allowed to adopt since passage of a law in November 2016. Single LGBT people may adopt in some states, but individuals seeking to adopt are considered less of a priority than couples and lengthy waiting lists for adoption make it virtually impossible. Individuals may usually only adopt a child with special needs or in cases of exceptional circumstances.