The Lower House of the Tasmanian parliament today resoundingly supported the advancement of legislation which would remove the ban on same-sex adoption.

The Lower House voted 18 to 4 to pass the bill, which would allow same-sex couples to be assessed for adoption in the same way that heterosexual couples are.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said: “This Bill allows adoption authorities to choose from the widest pool of prospective parents and helps removes stigma against all families headed by same-sex couples.

“In particular, it allows foster children already in the care of same-sex couples to be adopted by their foster parents when it is in their best interests.

“Those who continue to oppose this bill are putting prejudice ahead of what is best for children.”

Croome went on to applaude the State Liberal Party for allowing a conscience vote on the bill, which resulted in around half of the Liberal MPs voting with the Labor and Green parties.

He said: “It is a sign of how far Tasmania has come that there is such strong cross-party support for this important legislation.”

The bill, which would also allow unmarried heterosexual couples to adopt, will now go to the Upper House of Tasmania’s parliament.

It specifies that same-sex and unmarried straight couples must be in a state civil partnership before they are allowed to apply to adopt.

Same-sex couples in Tasmania are already treated equally with regards to fertility treatment, surrogacy and step-parent adoption.

Tasmania’s same-sex marriage bill failed to pass the Legislative Council in September after a key member indicated he would vote against it.