Tasmanian same-sex families have secured a win with the state Upper House passing a bill to recognise non-biological lesbian co-mothers as legal parents.
Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome said the passing of the Relationships (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill was welcome and would bring stability to same-sex families.
“This is in the best interests of the children of same-sex couples because it provides them with the greater legal, financial and emotional security that comes with having two legal parents rather than one,” Croome said.
Previously lesbian parents were forced to go to the federal Family Court to seek a parenting order to be legally recognised as the parent of their child.
The new laws also include an amendment to retrospectively cover lesbian parents who have had children in Tasmania via fertility treatment in the last six years.
Women’s Legal Service managing solicitor Susan Fahey said the service has seen many “distressing” examples of co-mothers denied access to their children.
“We are very pleased the children of same-sex couples will now have the same rights and protections that other Tasmanian children currently have, and which all children deserve from birth,” Fahey said.
The bill — which pertains only to female couples, and refers to couples who conceive a child through IVF — passed without objection after failing to get through the Upper House in 2003.
Same-sex couples already had access to IVF services in Tasmania. This new legislation brings Tasmania into line with other states, except South Australia and Queensland, in same-sex parental recognition.
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