LGBT rights advocates in the Australian state of Tasmania have welcomed the passage of a law allowing same-sex couples to adopt.
Since 2003 gays and lesbians in Tasmania could adopt their partner’s children but the new law now allows same-sex couples without biological children of their own to adopt children.
‘This reform is in the best interests of children because it will allow a child currently being fostered by a same-sex couple to be adopted by their foster parents when it is in that child's best interest,’ Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLR) spokesperson Rodney Croome, said.
‘It also removes legally entrenched prejudice against all Tasmanian same-sex couples with children.
‘Today is a proud day for Tasmania because we have removed the very last vestige of discrimination against same-sex couples in existing state law.’
The Labor-Greens Party coalition State Government Bill was passed in the Upper House by ten votes to three with the support of both Liberal Party members and rural independents.
Three other Australian states and territories allow same-sex couples to adopt non-biological children -Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales.
Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory do not allow same-sex couples to adopt, though in the Northern Territory step parent adoption and adoption by single LGBTs is possible.
Tasmania has allowed the legal recognition of non-biological same-sex parents since 2009 and same-sex surrogacy since 2012.
Tasmania was the last Australian state to decriminalize homosexuality in 1997 but the first state to establish a civil union scheme in 2003 and the first state to move towards marriage equality last year.