Victorian adoption agency faces ‘unclear’ future

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Archbishop Denis Hart (left). Photo: CNS
Archbishop Denis Hart (left). Photo: CNS

A Catholic adoption centre in Melbourne, in operation for 80 years, faces a period of great uncertainty if a same-sex adoption bill, soon to be introduced into Victorian parliament, is passed in its current form.

The Age is reporting that the Andrews Labor Government bill will allow same-sex couples to adopt children while explicitly ruling out exemptions for religious organisations.
Victoria’s Minister for Equality, Martin Foley, told media that “equality” was not negotiable.

“When this adoption bill becomes law, it will provide much-needed certainty for many children and their parents who currently live in a legal haze in terms of their relationships with the people they love,” he told Fairfax media.

“This bill will remove discrimination against children and parents in same-sex families.”

Three of the state’s four adoption agencies are faith-based. The Archbishop of Melbourne, Archbishop Denis Hart (pictured) said he was still hopeful of protections being provided to Catholic

Adoption Service similar to those given to faith-based organisations in NSW.

“The Catholic position on marriage and family holds that the well-being of the community and children are best served when they experience the love of both a mother and father in a safe, secure and stable relationship,” said a statement issued by the archbishop.

He said he acknowledged the alternative point of view and, while not agreeing, asked for the mutual respect of supporters of the move, saying CatholicCare should be allowed “to continue its outstanding work in the community within the tradition of the Catholic Church”.

Labor is expected to receive support from the Greens and the Sex Party in Victoria’s upper house, falling one vote shy of a majority.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, who is supportive of same-sex adoption of children, has given Liberal MPs a conscience vote while also saying that he wouldn’t be “broadly supportive” if religious institutions were penalised.