The news that a gay male couple have adopted a baby has been welcomed by lawmakers in the state of Western Australia.

Neither the couple or the mother of the child have been named, though it is understood the mother was consulted and approved of the adoption of her child by two gay men.

It is the first same-sex couple adoption in Australia.

Church groups and conservative politicians have criticised the decision.

While individuals throughout Australia can adopt regardless of sexual orientation, only WA and the Australian Capital Territory allow same-sex couples to adopt.

Western Australia’s state Attorney General Jim McGinty was responsible for changing the law and he said he was pleased at the adoption.

“I don’t think a person’s sexual orientation in any way at all influences or determines their capacity to love a child, to support that child and to bring it into a caring environment,” Mr McGinty told AP.

Church groups, such as the Australian Christian Lobby, accused the state authorities of treating children like commodities.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard is known to oppose adoptions by same-sex couples.