Last week was a big one for gay and lesbian couples. The Supreme Court in the United States invalidated part of DOMA and cleared the way for California to recognize marriages of same sex couples. And now the Australian state of Tasmania has given the thumbs up to same-sex couples who want to adopt.
The new law, just passed by the Upper House, allows any couple registered under the Relationship Act – basically their domestic partnership law – to adopt children. It was supported by all but three MPs.
This is a pretty big deal, especially when you realize that Tasmania was the last Australian state to decriminalize homosexuality in the 1990s.
The idea of prohibiting gay and lesbian couples from adoption was absurd to some of the Tasmanian MPs. Murchison Independent Ruth Forrest was one of them. She said, “To suggest that a same-sex couple is not as able to raise a child as a heterosexual couple, is both absurd and unsubstantiated.”
She’s right, of course. Children raised by same-sex couples aren’t any worse off than children of heterosexual couples. That didn’t keep some Tasmanian MPs from arguing that very thing. It seems to be a drum the anti-equality brigade likes to bang; in fact, just last week Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler made that argument on the PBS Newshour.
Come on, people! Will someone please think of the children?!
Earlier this year, the Lower House of parliament approved the measure.
The spokesperson of Gay and Lesbian Rights Group Rodney Croome hopes that this step will lead to a reconsideration of marriage equality:
“The passage of the Adoption Bill gives me hope that we will revisit the marriage bill and pass this, the open heartedness of some MLCs [Members of the Legislative Council, the Upper House of Parliament] to do what’s in the best interest of children, removing discrimination against same sex couples, having a more tolerant and inclusive society,” he said.
Image credit: Flickr