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Aussie measure
would punish children adopted by gays

Aussie measure
would punish children adopted by gays

Australia's conservative leadership, in the parliamentary session opening next week, is introducing a measure that would deny legal recognition to overseas children adopted by same-sex couples, TheSydney Morning Herald reported.

The measure, championed by Prime Minister John Howard, would deny an Australian visa to any child a same-sex couple attempts to bring into the country.

Adoptions, including international adoptions, are now regulated by the individual Aussie states. The proposed law would override that capacity.

A similar bill floated just before the 2004 elections was defeated by the opposition Labor Party.

The intent is to ensure that priority for scarce adoptable children is "given to those in typical family arrangements," Attorney General Philip Ruddock told the Herald through a spokeswoman.

"The government clearly believes children are better off in a Chinese orphanage or on the streets of Manila than in the care of a loving same-sex couple in Australia," activist Rodney Croome of the Australian Coalition for Equality told the Herald.

He accused Howard's government of pandering to the religious right as another election looms.

"We can call it 'orphans overboard,' " Croome said.

Eleven percent of Aussie same-sex couples have children living with them, the country's 2001 census found. Community polls put the true figure much higher, according to the coalition--up to 20%.

Western Australia legalized adoptions by gay couples in 2002, followed by the Australian Capital Territory in 2004. The Capital Territory also voted last year to legalize same-sex civil unions, but on Howard's urging that legislation was overridden by the federal senate. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)

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