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Gay adoption legalized in Victoria state

Gay adoption legalized in Victoria state

The Victoria Parliament in Melbourne

Gay adoption has been legalized in the Australian state of Victoria after 15 years of legislative wrangling.

The Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill passed the lower house of the Legislative Assembly unopposed on Wednesday (9 December) afternoon.

In the past, gay couples could only be foster parents or guardians, but could not adopt even if their children had been in their care for years.

The bill passed the upper house last month but with last-minute amendments exempting religious institutions.

It was uncertain whether the legislation would be approved by the lower house as Labor had previously any exemptions.

‘After 15 years of struggle Victoria now has Adoption Equality,’ Victorian Minister for Equality, Martin Foley, wrote on Facebook.

‘I pay tribute to the work of gender diverse and same-sex families in achieving this milestone. Whilst the work of equality is never done this is a major milestone. Above all it is to recognize the rights of children and loving parents.

The bill now awaits royal assent before going into effect.

Only one faith-based adoption agency, CatholicCare Victoria, which processed five adoptions last year, said it would make use of the exemptions.