Queensland to scrap legal same-sex adoption barriers

The Queensland government has announced a review of the laws barring same-sex couples to adopt.

Same sex couples in Queensland may soon be legally allowed to adopt children with the Palaszczuk government looking to scrap remaining legal barriers.
Communities minister Shannon Fentiman said the proposed changes might be passed by the end of this year, “[removing] this archaic chapter from our adoption laws”.
According to a report by The Guardian, Fentiman said she was excited for a review of the act, saying she “saw an overwhelming response from the Queensland community supporting same sex adoption”.
The barriers only remain in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Family lawyer Stephen Page acknowledged the work done on the reforms by the former Bligh Labor government, saying the move was a “wonderful achievement”.
“You don’t have to be in family law very long to realise that sexuality is not the important thing, it’s the quality of parenting,” Page said.
“We’ve signed up to the international convention on the rights of the child and if we’re serious about that, the best interests of the child, we have to assess for each child who are the best carers and it shouldn’t be based on sexuality.”
Shelley Argent, national spokeswoman for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays welcomed the move, saying that extended family members, not just parents, will enjoy the official recognition of family ties.
“What happens so often, people who are opposed to same-sex couples having children, they forget it’s not just the parents and the child, it’s grandparents and extended family,” Argent said.
“For us, that’s extremely important to know that we now will officially have these children in our life.”
The proposed changes will allow more information to be given to adoptees, making it easier for step parents to adopt and removing the offence for breaches of ‘no contact’ provisions for adoptions before 1991.
A person faces up to two years jail if seeking contact with an adoptee or birth parent who has told the department of communities they don’t want to be contacted, The Guardian reported.
“[It’s] about time that Queensland caught up with Australian states and territories,” Fentiman said.

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