A new Bill on surrogacy in the South Australian parliament has been restricted to heterosexual couples after Family First launched a concerted email campaign targeting Members of the Legislative Council.
The Statutes Amendment (Surrogacy) Bill would allow a woman to donate her unborn child to two other people, who must have lived together for at least five years in a "marriage-like" relationship.
Labor MLC Ian Hunter (pictured) moved a number of amendments such as removing the term "marriage-like" to ensure the bill would not discriminate against same-sex couples.
Family First immediately launched an email campaign to whip up opposition to the amendments, claiming that "at the 11th hour" the "gay lobby" had "sprung a surprise upon the Parliament" and requesting as many people as possible to bombard upper house MPs with emails "in the next five hours."
The email – signed by the Hons Dennis Hood MLC and Andrew Evans MLC – asked respondents to tell MLCs that they opposed the "Hunter amendment" because "it undermines the fabric of society, which are [sic] traditional families having a mum and a dad to raise a child".
The amendment was voted down and the Bill will now pass back to the lower house in its original form.
Mr Hunter thanked Labor, Green and Democrat MLCs and Independent Anne Bressington who supported the amendment and condemned the "last minute hysterical Family First email campaign which inundated [MLCs] with hundreds of homophobic emails."
"We thrashed out the domestic partners bill in this place two years ago, giving same sex couples legal rights," Mr Hunter said, "and now to have new legislation that is discriminatory towards them is just deplorable.
"I’m not sure that this is even a path that gay couples would wish to pursue if it were open to them – but to bring in prejudicial laws after introducing the domestic partners laws feels a bit like one step forward, two steps back."
Mr Hunter also told ABC Radio: "I would love to be able to support a Bill, which didn’t discriminate against gays and lesbians, but allowed gestational surrogacy, but I certainly cannot support a Bill that enshrines in the legislation discrimination once again. I fought that battle and won it and I don’t want to retreat."
- Ron Hughes, blazemedia.com