Same-sex adoption now a reality in Queensland

Last week State Government made same-sex adoption legal in Queensland. The Adoption and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in Queensland Parliament last Wednesday.

It is great to see these discriminatory barriers that prevent LGBTI Queenslanders from being able to adopt a child no longer have a place in our community.

Minister for Communities Shannon Fentiman said “I am so proud Queensland has voted to join other Australian states and territories to remove this archaic chapter from our adoption laws.”

“It is only fair members of our LGBTI community have the same rights as any other Queenslander, and that includes the right to raise a family with an adopted child.”

The change to the law follows a statutory review of the state’s Adoption Act 2009, which asked community members to share their experience of adoption and make recommendations about how the process can be improved.

More than 350 Queenslanders and organisations responded, with the vast majority supportive of the removal of barriers preventing same-sex couples, single people and couples undergoing fertility treatment, from adopting.

These reforms now bring Queensland into line with New South Wales, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The new laws will ensure our legislation is contemporary and reflects the needs and experiences of children requiring adoption in Queensland, now and into the future.

The reforms will also remove the offence and penalty for a breach of contact statement for adoptions prior to June 1991, facilitate face-to-face contact during interim adoption orders between an adoptee and their birth family, improve access to information and streamline the step-parent application process.

The new law will also improve access to information by an adoptee, birth parents or an adult relative. This recognises the difficulties in tracing family members who have lost contact with the department, and the importance to people over generations to gain this information in order to both preserve their family history and their own personal story.