same sex couples can now adopt or apply for parenting orders
adoption by same sex couples is now legal except for northern territory, south australia and queensland. same sex couples who cannot adopt can apply for parenting orders.
As of the present only the following allow adoption by same sex couples: New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia and Australian Capital Territory. The Northern Territory and South Australia have still not legalized adoption by same sex couples. The same goes for Queensland which only allows single gay or lesbian singles to adopt but does not grant the same privilege to same sex couples.
Western Australia was the pioneer in same sex adoption having legalized it in 2002 with the passage of Acts Amendment (Lesbian and Gay Law Reform) Act 2002. So it follows that the first legal same sex adoption took place in Western Australia in June 2007 by two gay men.
The requirements or qualifications to adopt by same sex couples would depend on the laws passed by the states or territory. In NSW, the qualifications for same sex couples to be able to adopt are the same as heterosexual couples, which are that they must be of good reputation, fit and proper persons, at least 21 years old, must be 18 years older than the child and they must have lived together continuously for 2 years.
The advantage with adoption is that the same sex couple will be recognized as the child’s legal parents. The names of the couple can be added to the child’s birth certificate. As the legal parents of the child, the same-sex couple will exercise the rights and responsibilities of parents under the Family Law Act. The adoption also has financial implications like employment related benefits and insurance. Adopted children become the beneficiaries of their adoptee parents in life and health insurance.
Perhaps the most significant positive effect of legalizing same sex adoption is the identity it gives the children. Advocates of same sex adoption argue that it is in the child’s best interests and therefore would be pursuant to the Family Law Act’s mandate. Children are reassured that the people who care for them and love them are the same people that society recognizes as their parents. The recognition of a child’s parents is important to a child’s concept of a family.
There is no denying that LGBTs are now part of society. They are involved in de facto relationships because marriage is not yet a legal option for them. Just like any normal couple, same sex partners also want to have children. In some states or territories adoption is not legalized for same sex couples so what some partners do is that they apply for parenting orders in relation to the child of their partner. The same sex partner applies for a parenting order as a significant person in the care, development and welfare of the child of the partner. Applying for parenting orders is the next best solution for same sex couples who live in areas where adoption is not allowed to them.
It is noteworthy to mention that there exists a preference of granting parenting orders rather than adoption which severs the ties of a birth mother with her child. The birth mother loses all rights to her child once he/she is adopted.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.