New South Wales Legislative Assembly votes in favor of same-sex adoption

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Parliament House of NSW on Macquarie Street, Sydney.
Image: J Bar.

In a close vote the New South Wales (NSW) Legislative Assembly has supported a bill that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children. The conscience vote that gained bipartisan support from the major parties, resulted in 46 Members of Parliament (MP) voting for it and 44 voting against it.

Having been rejected previously for amendments that would allow church-based adoption agencies to refuse applications from same-sex couples, the introduction of the bill finally gained approval from the Premier Kristina Keneally of the Australian Labor Party and the Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell of the Liberal Party of Australia.

Keneally stated in response to this bill that "In forming my position on this bill, I have considered my experiences as a mother, my responsibilities as a parliamentarian, and my conscience as a Christian and member of the Catholic faith."

While O'Farrell claimed that he supported "this measure today [...] for the sake of children but also because I don't believe our society should exclude because of gender, sexuality, faith, background or some other factor, people who have a contribution they can make."

The bill was introduced by Independent MP and Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, who has been an avid supporter of LGBT rights and reportedly smiled and clapped after the bill was passed in the lower house.

Before being signed into law by the Governor of New South Wales, the bill must be passed in the NSW upper house, where it will again be subject to a conscience vote.

In the state of Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, gay adoption is already legal. Earlier this year Argentina and Denmark also legislated for equal adoption rights for gay couples.