RELIGIOUS adoption agencies can freely refuse same-sex couples wanting to adopt a child in Victoria under an amended bill that passed yesterday.
Victorian Parliament passed the controversial bill allowing same-sex couples a chance to adopt children in the state, but with an amendment omitting Clause 17, which would have prohibited faith-based agencies from an exemption.
The amended bill would also repeal the term “de facto relationship” or “de facto spouse” in favour of the gender-neutral term “domestic relationship”.
References to “man or woman” will also be substituted with ‘person”.
Victorian MP Bernie Finn said faith-based adoption agencies, including Melbourne’s CatholicCare, were now given the freedom to refuse to place children with gay couples without being pinned with a discrimination case.
Mr Finn, who had voted against the entire bill as well as for the removal of Clause 17, said the new legislation made it illegal for non-religious agencies to discriminate against a heterosexual couple or a same-sex couple.
“There’s supposed to be no discrimination between any couple now, whether heterosexual or a same-sex couple,” he said.
However, Mr Finn said he did not dismiss potential discrimination cases filed by same-sex couples whose adoption applications might be denied for fair reasons.
“We know there are some minorities that like to challenge things as discrimination,” he said.
“I’ve even been taken to court for it, and that’s unfortunate.
“The practice will tell us what’s going on.”
Mr Finn said there were only 46 infant adoptions approved in Victoria last year.
“That is because most babies are killed (by abortion) these days,” he said.
Same-sex couples wanting to adopt will still need to abide by the same processes as heterosexual couples, which requires couples to be married or in a registered domestic relationship for at least two years before applying.
By Emilie Ng