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Australian state gets first ever Minister for LGBTI Equality

Australian state gets first ever Minister for LGBTI Equality

Albert Park MP Martin Foley has become the first government minister at a state or federal level in Australia to be given an LGBTI Equality portfolio as the new Victorian Labor state government moves quickly to fulfill one of its election promises to the LGBTI community.

Incoming Premier Daniel Andrews promised that he would allow same-sex couples to adopt if he won government, alongside creating the equality portfolio and a government ministerial advisory committee which would identify issues of inequality in Victorian state law.

Now Foley will be charged with changing the law so that same-sex couples can adopt as couples and so that gays and lesbians can adopt their partners’ children.

‘An Andrews Labor Government will deliver on building the equality framework for #lgbti people,’ Foley tweeted earlier today following his appointment to the portfolio.

Previously gays and lesbians could only adopt as single people, but the reform will bring Victoria into line with the law in the states of New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Folley’s appointment was welcomed by the Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby.

We’d like to congratulate Martin Foley MP on being appointed Minister for LGBTI Equality,’ the group said in an online statement.

‘In the past few years as Shadow Minister for Equality we have had the enormous pleasure to work closely with him and intend to continue to work closely over the next four years.

‘May we also congratulate Daniel Andrews on being sworn in as Victoria’s 48th Premier … We look forward to working with the whole Government over the next term.’

The new Victorian Government has also pledged to make it harder for faith-based organizations to discriminate against employees because of their sexual orientation or religious beliefs; require every government secondary school to have programs to support gay students; and amend the state’s Relationships Register to ensure same-sex couples who marry overseas can have their relationships recognized in Victoria.

The Victorian Government has also pledged to repeal section 19A of the Crimes Act which singles out the willful transmission of HIV to a person when there are other laws on the books can be used to punish people for deliberately infecting a person with a virus without singling out people with HIV.