7 October 2015

The Australian Christian Lobby today called on the Andrews Government to amend its same-sex adoption legislation.

ACL Victorian Director Dan Flynn said that many Christians would be shocked that the bill includes amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 that will remove protections for religious freedom or freedom of conscience.

Mr Flynn said the amendments would make it impossible for a religious organization that held conscientious objections to facilitating same-sex adoptions to continue providing adoption services.

“These amendments to the Equal Opportunity Act seem to be a blatant move designed to sideline Christian charities that provide adoption services,” Mr Flynn said.

“This is one of the most blatant attacks on religious freedom and freedom of conscience we have ever seen.

“The Andrews’ government is being needlessly provocative.  Same-sex adoption is a controversial and divisive issue.

“It is sending a message to Christians and people of faith that it does not respect the views of people who disagree with the Premier and Minister for Equality.”

In direct contrast to this deliberate attack on religious freedom, in 2010 when the NSW Labor Government brought in same-sex adoption, Labor MP Ms Linda Burney proudly demonstrated her party’s commitment to a tolerant, pluralistic society by announcing religious exemptions.

“Rather than agreeing to live and let live, they are saying there is no place in Victorian society for people who disagree with the Premier.

“ACL is calling on the parliament to amend this disgraceful attack on religious freedom – a fundamental human right.”

About the Adoption Amendment (Adoption by Same-Sex Couples) Bill 2015

The bill was introduced by The Hon Martin Foley and amends the Adoption Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.

The bill seeks to legalise adoption by same-sex couples in Victoria.

However the bill also amends the Equal Opportunity Act to limit the ability of religious organisations to act in accordance with their faith.

In a submission to an earlier inquiry, adoption service provider CatholicCare said it would need to reconsider whether they could continue providing adoption services if forced to facilitate adoptions by same-sex couples.