Equality Australia says court case involving Aboriginal baby shows urgent need for LGBTIQ+ reforms in NSW

February 6, 2023 – National LGBTIQ+ group Equality Australia says it’s disgraceful an adoption agency refused to consider placing an Aboriginal baby in the care of her maternal aunt because she was in a same-sex relationship. 

According to media reports of the case before the Children’s Court, the Anglicare service provider did not even assess the aunt as a suitable carer and placed her instead with a non-Indigenous heterosexual couple. 

“We cannot have a situation where the laws in NSW allow the lives and wellbeing of children to be jeopardised by the outdated prejudice of a faith-based service provider contracted by government to do its bidding,” said Legal Director of Equality Australia Ghassan Kassisieh. 

“It is disgraceful that Anglicare would put discrimination before considering the interests of a child in remaining connected to their First Nations’ culture and community.  

“It is cases like this that prove the urgency of the reforms that are currently before parliament as part of Independent MP Alex Greenwich’s Equality Bill.”  

NSW is one of several states and territories in Australia that have legal loopholes allowing faith-based service providers and religious schools to discriminate against students, staff and people who rely on their services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Mr Kassisieh said Anglicare’s policy, as stated on its website, was to refuse to assess same-sex couples to be adoptive parents. 

“Especially when a service provider is effectively acting as an agent of the government they should not be allowed to legally discriminate on the basis of someone’s sexuality,” he said. 

“This is clearly out of line with community expectations in 2024. 

“We call for the urgent removal of loopholes that allow this type of blatant discrimination to continue in NSW. Everyone should be judged on their merits not their sexuality or gender identity, and the prejudice of a provider cannot have precedence over considerations regarding the best interests of the child.” 

Contact: Tara Ravens, tara.ravens@equalityaustralia.org.au, 0408 898 154