Lawmakers in the Assembly of the
territory of New South Wales have OK'd a bill that would allow gay
couples to adopt children, The Australian reported.
The Australian state includes the
country's largest and most populous city, Sydney, home of the
country's annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, one of the largest gay
festivals in the world.
The bill, which would allow gay couples
to adopt a child together, eked out a narrow victory for its sponsor,
independent Sydney MP Clover Moore. The measure escaped a tie vote
with only one vote to spare (46 to 44) after lawmakers debated its
merits for two days.
“Unlike heterosexual couples,
same-sex couples can't adopt a child together – one parent must
adopt as an individual and the other has no legal standing as the
co-parent, leaving the child in legal limbo,” Moore said in June,
when she first introduced the measure.
An amendment that gives church-based
adoption agencies the right to deny services to gay and lesbian
couples without violating the law was being credited for saving the
bill from defeat.
Supporters argue that the bill would
benefit the 1,300
children in NSW already being cared for either
by gay foster parents or a parent's gay partner.
If approved, New South Wales would join
Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in
lifting the prohibition.