Pell prepares for fight on gay adoption

Cardinal George Pell is preparing to present "sociological findings" on the benefits of raising children in a marriage to an inquiry into a NSW adoption legislation which bans gay and lesbian couples from adopting children.

The NSW Minister for Community Services, Reba Meagher, said individual homosexuals could adopt under current laws but the review would consider proposals to remove a ban on same-sex couples.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney's Cardinal Pell said that children have a right to a "mother and father".

The Cardinal said the church would present the inquiry with "sociological findings" on children who grew up in marriages, de facto heterosexual relationships and same-sex partnerships. He said there was "significant evidence about the benefits of marriage" over same-sex partnerships.

He said he could "never anticipate" the church's welfare and adoption agency, Centacare, working to place children with same-sex couples.

The NSW Government overhauled adoption laws in 2000 but rejected a recommendation by the NSW Law Reform Commission to extend adoption rights to gay couples.

The resulting Adoption Act 2000 requires the minister to report to Parliament within six years on whether the law fulfils its aim of serving the best interests of children. The Department of Community Services is conducting the review and will report to Ms Meagher by November.

"We want to place as many vulnerable children as possible into homes that are loving and stable," Ms Meagher said. "That is why our policy does not preclude unmarried people in same-sex relationships from adopting if they are able to care for a child and provide a safe, secure and loving environment."

In the past five years similar bans have been overturned in Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

The review will accept public submissions until the end of May.

Catholics prepare for fight on gay adoption (Sydney Morning Herald 29/4/06)

'Mother and Child Campaign' opposes adoption by gay couples (Irish Times 28/4/06)

1 May 2006