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A Bill allowing same-sex couples to jointly adopt last night passed the Australian State Legislative Council, Victorian Parliament’s upper house. The Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill passed with 31 MPs voting in favour and eight voting against.

Rainbow Families Council Co-Convenor Amelia Basset said the passing of the bill was a bittersweet victory

“We are thrilled to have achieved a law reform that we’ve pursued for over a decade, and we are especially thrilled for the hundreds of families that will be positively impacted by the reform,” Ms Bassett said.

“Last night’s decision reflects the growing understanding among legislators and the broader community that it’s love that makes a family, not biology.”

“Our campaign is, and has always been, about the rights and best interests of children. We are exasperated and frustrated that religious exemptions remain in place. The Bill that passed the Legislative Council fails to ensure that children’s rights will always be at the forefront of state-funded service provision.”

While the Bill was passed with an overwhelming majority vote, Sean Mulcahy, Co-Convenor of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, said he was disappointed that a clause to remove religious exemptions was narrowly defeated.
"The Legislative Council showed its overwhelming support for same-sex families last night but it failed the equality test," said Mr Mulcahy
"If the Legislative Assembly accepts this amended Bill, same-sex couples seeking to adopt may still be rejected by religious organisations based purely on their gender identity or sexual orientation. That's not equality."
"We will continue to advocate for a broader review of religious exemptions with a view to ensuring no lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex person is turned away from services simply because of who they are. We firmly believe that children’s rights, welfare and best interests must never be trumped by the religious beliefs of a state-funded service provider. It made no sense last night and makes no sense today.”

Photo: Sean Mulcahy, VGLRL Co-Convener