The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, is introducing legislation to ban same-sex couples from adopting children from other countries.

The Family Law (Same Sex Adoption) Bill could be introduced as early as next week.

If it becomes law, children adopted in other countries by same-sex

couples will not be granted visas to enter Australia.

Individual states oversee adoption, and same-sex couples can currently adopt in the state of Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory.

Tasmania allows gay people to adopt their partner’s children.

Australians can also adopt children from countries which have ratified the Hague Convention, and countries Australia has bilateral agreements with.

A federal law would override the states by not allowing adopted

children to enter the country.

“We can call it orphans overboard,” said Rodney Croome, co-founder of lobby group the Australian Coalition for Equality, according to

SameSame.com.au

“For a government to deliberately set out to stigmatise same-sex

couples and their children to win a few votes in the lead up to an

election is beneath contempt.”

Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told The Brisbane

Times that the measure was needed to limit overseas adoption

because there was often competition for a small number of children.

“The measures will ensure that priority is given to those in typical

family arrangements,” he said.

The government attempted a similar bill in 2004, but were blocked by

the Labour party.

The Labour party have declined to comment on the bill.

Prime Minister Howard has been very vocal about his stance on gay

rights issues.

“I don’t support gay adoption, just as I’m against gay marriage,” he said in 2004, speaking to Sydney radio

station 2UE.

“I think there are certain benchmark institutions and arrangements in our society that you don’t muck around with. Children ideally should be brought up by a mother and a father who are married. That’s the ideal.”

Croome said the Howard government, which changed legislation to

specifically ban same-sex civil unions, had a history of homophobic

legislation.

“The government clearly believes children are better off in a Chinese orphanage or on the streets of Manila than in the care of a loving same-sex couple in Australia,” he added.