Lennox MP backs gay adoption

LENNOX Head-based State MLC Catherine Cusack says she will not only vote for a bill allowing same-sex couples to adopt – she’s looking forward to it.

Ms Cusack said she expected the bill, which narrowly made it through a conscience vote in the Lower House on Thursday, to reach the Legislative Council, possibly on Tuesday, and certainly some time next week.

Ms Cusack rejected arguments, put by local Nationals MPs Steve Cansdell and Don Page, that children were necessarily better off with a mother and a father rather that two mothers or two fathers.

The Family Court exclusively occupied itself with the best interests of the child when making decisions about adoption and, where the child was able to make an informed choice, the wishes of the child.

However, current legislation meant the court was closed off from considering same-sex couples for adoption even if, by every other measure, it was in a child’s best interests to let them adopt.

Ms Cusack said the decision to back the legislation had been easy and was backed by the personal story of a family she knew.

In that family a lesbian couple had raised a girl as foster parents. The girl had grown up and chosen to become a mother herself.

Her foster mothers supported her through her pregnancy and the birth. The woman they raised considered them her parents and her child’s grandparents, and they viewed the woman and her baby the same way.

Changing the law to allow same-sex couples to adopt meant the young woman, her baby and her foster mothers, would be able to formalise their relationship in law.

Ms Cusack said that story was not the sole reason for her decision to back the legislation, but that it had influenced her decision.

“I don’t find it a very complicated issue,” Ms Cusack said.

Ms Cusack said there had been an intense campaign run against the legislation and some MPs in the Legislative Assembly had been pressured into opposing the bill on fear of losing their seats come the March election.

Those comments did not apply to the local Nationals MPs, who she believed had voted according to genuinely held beliefs.

Ms Cusack said she had been deeply impressed at the strength of some of the arguments levelled in favour of same-sex adoption during the debate in the Legislative Assembly.

She urged anyone interested in, or concerned about, the issue to look at the Hansard transcript of the debate at www.parliament.nsw.gov.au.

The debate on the issue in the Upper House was expected to be a lengthy one.

However, Ms Cusack said numbers people within the Parliament were suggesting the bill would pass in another tight conscience vote, which would then enshrine it in law.

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