The federal government of Australia is to bring forward legislation that will ensure that foreign children adopted by a same-sex couples will not be recognised as having two parents.
An amendment the Family Law Act will bar any legal recognition in Australia of adoptions by same-sex couples which have taken place in other countries.
Senator Andrew Bartlett and gay activist Rodney Croome drew attention to the proposed new law on their blogs.
Senator Bartlett, leader of the Australian Democrats since 2002, said:
“To use children and their relationship with their adopted parents as political pawns in an election year is setting a new low.
“After all, it won’t even prevent an adoption, it will just leave children who have been adopted with reduced legal and social recognition and protection, and a less stable family environment.”
The Senate is about to start a new session, and the government have proposed the Family Law (Same Sex Adoption) Bill.
The brief explanation for the Bill’s purpose is:
“To amend the Family Law Act 1975 to indicate that adoptions by same sex couples of children from overseas under either bilateral or multilateral arrangements will not be recognised in Australia.”
It is the latest attempt by the federal government of John Howard to restrict the rights of gay and lesbian couples.
The wedge issue of gay rights is viewed as vital for the incumbent Liberal party winning the Australian federal election later this year.
In 2004, the last election year, the government passed a law to clarify that marriage in the legal sense only exists between a man and a woman.
In December 2005 Australia’s right-wing Prime Minister ruled out ever recognising gay marriages.
Mr Howard claimed that he is not seeking to discriminate against gay people but that he believes, “very strongly that marriage is exclusively a union for life of a man and a woman to the exclusion of others.”
The opposition Labour party have been lukewarm about gay rights, fearing that supporting gays and lesbians will lose them votes.
All states and territories in Australia grant same-sex partners some legal rights.
Commenting on this latest attack on gay families, activist Rodney Croome said:
“As soon as the family walks through Australian customs, the child will cease to have two legal parents, and one of the parents will cease to have any legal rights or responsibilities for their child.”