The Australian government seems set to proceed with a bill that aims to bar legal recognition of overseas same-sex couple adoptions by its citizens.

The legislation was first announced in February but the bill – the Family Law (Same Sex Adoption) Act – is expected to be introduced in a new session of parliament next week.

While the act would not actually stop Australian couples from adopting overseas, it will not recognise the adoption should the family return to Australia.

Even if the adoption is legal in another country, the adopted child will cease to have two legal parents and one of the parents will cease to have any legal rights upon entering Australia.

The child may also not even be granted a visa to enter Australia.

“For a government to deliberately set out to stigmatize same-sex couples and their children to win a few votes in the lead up to an election is beneath contempt,” Rodney Croome, of the Australian Coalition for Equality told the AAP news service.

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.

The government says that the law intends to give priority to heterosexual couples in “typical family arrangements” when it comes to adoption.

In June, Australia’s government was slated for discriminating against same-sex couples and families by New York based Human Rights Watch and the country’s own human rights commission.

Despite recent statements that his government does not support discrimination, Prime Minister John Howard has consistently opposed the recognition of same-sex couples under federal law and has promoted discriminatory policies purportedly aimed at “defending” marriage.

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