Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, today signalled his government's intention to introduce a new Bill into Victorian Parliament this week, aimed at removing discrimination against children of same sex parents by enabling same sex couples to adopt in Victoria.
The Bill will implement recommendations in the Adoption Act Review undertaken by Eamonn Moran QC, whose final report was released yesterday. The recommendations include amending the Adoption Act 1984 and the Adoption Regulations 2008 by inserting a definition of the term "domestic relationship" into the existing legislation. The review recommended that "domestic relationship" be defined as a relationship between two persons who are not married to each other but who are living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis (irrespective of sex or gender).
At present, same sex couples need to apply to the Family Court in order for either or both parties to be legally recognised as the parents of their child. Being legally recognised as your child's parent means that you have the ability to make key decisions for your child in relation to things like schooling, medical care and religion.
If introduced and passed, the Bill will significantly broaden the legal mechanisms available to same sex couples to acquire parental rights and responsibilities for their children, by enabling adoption under Victorian state legislation. Same sex couples should be aware that, even if the Bill does become law, obtaining permission from the Family Court to commence adoption proceedings may still be required in certain circumstances.