Adoption law up for debate

17:00, Aug 30 2012

After voting on same-sex marriage, MPs will consider gay adoption in a bill introduced to Parliament.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern's Care of Children Law Reform Bill has been picked from the members' ballot.

If adopted it will require the Law Commission to overhaul adoption laws, which are more than 50 years old. It aims to ensure adoption decisions are made in the best interests of the children involved.

Ms Ardern said it would remove barriers in the law that prevented certain people from adopting. It also failed to recognise Maori customary adoption, where children were raised by other relatives, called whangai.

A heterosexual de facto couple could adopt but a heterosexual civil union couple could not. A single male could not adopt a female.

A member's bill by fellow Labour MP Louisa Wall - enabling same-sex adoption by redefining marriage so gay couples can wed - passed its first reading on Wednesday by a convincing 80 votes to 40.

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