SAME-SEX couples will be given the same adoption rights as married couples under changes to legislation to be tabled in Parliament today.
Children's Minister Michelle O'Byrne will table an amendment to the Adoption Act allowing same-sex couples to adopt children given up by their birth parents.
Under existing laws, only married couples have that option and same-sex couples can only adopt a child who is a relative or step-child.
The amendment extends the same adoption rights to same-sex and de-facto couples who have registered a significant relationship under the Relationships Act.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome welcomed the decision, saying it was in the best interests of children.
``This bill is about what is best for children because it allows adoption agencies the fullest range of potential adoptive parents to choose from,'' Mr Croome said.
Mr Croome said a number of same-sex couples acting as foster parents may look to adopt their children.
``Same-sex couples are just as capable as opposite-sex couples of providing children in need with a safe, secure, loving home life,'' he said.
The move will see Tasmania join Western Australia, the ACT and New South Wales in allowing same-sex adoption of children they are not related to.
It is the latest in a string of progressive social policies from the government, including same-sex marriage, euthanasia, decriminalisation of abortion and surrogacy laws.
Ms O'Byrne said strict criteria around adoptions would be enforced.
``If an individual or couple is seeking to adopt a child, they must meet stringent suitability criteria and have their capacity to care for a child thoroughly assessed,'' Ms O'Byrne said.
``The adoptive child's best interests will be the paramount concern.''
The government will today launch a position paper on the subject.
There are 329 significant registered relationships in Tasmania, equally split between heterosexual and same-sex couples.
The Department of Health and Human Services consulted on changes to the Act last year.