Children born to lesbian couples through artificial insemination can now have both mothers on their birth certificates after the Iemma Government’s parenting reforms passed 64 votes to 11 last week.

Despite Anglican and fathers’ rights groups campaigning strongly against the changes, only a quarter of Coalition members voted against the bill in the lower house, with a further quarter failing to turn up.

The bill passed the upper house without individual votes being recorded.

Minister for Women Verity Firth acknowledged the reforms did not address all the parenting needs of same-sex couples, but were designed to address the most common circumstances.

The Minister for Community Services [Kevin Greene] is considering adoption by all prospective partners in the context of a broader response to a review of the Adoption Act 2000, she said.

Currently, gays and lesbians, as individuals, can adopt children, subject to the same process of screening for suitability as heterosexual men and women.

Surrogacy is a developing area of law … being considered as part of the development of a national surrogacy framework. At this stage it would be premature for any changes to be made in NSW.

It is also now illegal to discriminate on the basis of domestic status, which had Christian Democrat leader Fred Nile claiming critical debate of same-sex relationships could result in a $40,000 fine.

I have been before the Anti-Discrimination Board in relation to what I regard as trivial matters, Nile told Parliament.

Vexatious individuals could say, -˜I’ve got another weapon to use against the people I disagree with’. It costs the person who made the complaint nothing.

Liberal MLC Charlie Lynn used the parliamentary privilege to attack previous equal age of consent reforms as exposing vulnerable young boys to sexual predators and accused the Government of not having a public mandate on these issues.

Nationals leader Andrew Stoner warned the Government was embarking on plans to undermine bans on same-sex marriage, adoption and IVF [sic], but voted for the bill anyway.

Sydney MP Clover Moore joined Greens Leader Lee Rhiannon in calling on the government to proceed with urgent adoption reform.

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