This week new adoption equality laws allowing same-sex couples to adopt children passed the Northern Territory parliament.
Until this week, the NT was the only remaining Australian state or territory that prevented same-sex and unmarried couples from adopting children. Previously, couples were required to be married for two years before they could adopt.
Director of Legal Advocacy, Anna Brown, welcomed the removal of discrimination against same-sex couples achieved by the Adoption of Children Legislation Amendment (Equality) Bill 2017.
"The Northern Territory joins the rest of Australia in recognising that what matters most is that children grow up in loving and safe homes – regardless of the gender of the people that care for them," said Ms Brown.
"Now that marriage equality has passed nationally, it’s important we bring the laws in every state in line with modern community values and remove every last stain of discrimination against LGBTI people from the statute books across this country," said Ms Brown.
Same-sex couples in the NT are already raising children in foster care and permanent care. However, unlike heterosexual married couples, same-sex couples have been prevented from adopting children even where this would be in the child’s best interests.
“The passage of adoption equality will make a significant difference to children who are already being raised in loving homes by same-sex couples. This will finally give them the emotional and legal stability that’s long overdue," said Ms Brown.
As well as removing discrimination in adoption laws, the Gunner Government has also committed to dealing with the legacy of criminal convictions for homosexual offences.
For interviews or further information please call:
Alycia Gawthorne, Communications Officer, Human Rights Law Centre, 0425 016 380