Australia’s federal government has announced that it will soon table a law to ban the recognition of same-sex couple adoptions that have been legalised in other countries.

While details of the legislation – the Family Law Act – will only be known when it goes before parliament in the coming weeks, it is understood that while it would not actually stop Australian couples from adopting overseas, it will not recognise the adoption should the family return to Australia.

“As soon as the family walks through Australian customs, the child will cease to have two legal parents and one of the parents will cease to have any legal rights or responsibilities for their child,” writes gay activist Rodney Croome on his website.

The law will affect both adopted children biologically related to one of the partners as well as children that are not related to either of the partners.

Queensland Senator Guy Bartlett, who opposes the measure, also commented on the proposed legislation on his blog:

“… to use children and their relationship with their adopted parents as political pawns in an election year is setting a new low. After all, it won’t even prevent an adoption, it will just leave children who have been adopted with reduced legal and social recognition and protection, and a less stable family environment.”

Prime Minister John Howard and his government have a history of refusing to acknowledge full rights for lesbians and gays, including same-sex marriage.

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