Australia may ban overseas adoption. Politicians use familiar conservative argument to wedge the opposition on gay rights.

The Australian government plans to introduce a bill into parliament that will ban overseas adoptions by same-sex couples. The move is described to give heterosexual couples in “typical family arrangements” priority over the limited number of children available for adoption in Asia.

The Australian Coalition for Equality, said the legislation is disappointing but not unexpected. The government had unsuccessfully tried to introduce similar laws before the 2004 election.

The change would override the states and territories, which currently have responsibility for overseeing international adoptions. And the move follows the recent landmark adoption by two Western Australian gay men.

A Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission report condemned the government’s previous moves to change the law, saying it does not accept that “one set of parents should have to struggle harder than another set of parents to protect the best interests of their child, purely on the basis of their sexuality.” And, “Laws that perpetuate such inequalities are unjust and should be changed. They are also contrary to international human rights law.”