A BILL has been passed in South Australia repealing a rule unique to the state wherein female parents using donor sperm at home or in a clinic had to be living together for at least three years before they could be listed on their child’s birth certificate.

The new legislation will allow both mothers to be listed on their child’s birth certificate irrespective of how long they have been living together.

The Family Relationships (Parentage Presumption) Amendment Bill was passed in the lower house of South Australian Parliament, having already passed the upper house in June last year.

The government and the opposition allowed their MPs a conscience vote after a debate, with a majority 29 voting in favour of the bill, and 12 against.

Upper house Greens MP Tammy Franks said she was glad the bill finally passed after being the one to introduce it last year.

“It’s quite emotional – I heard a story from one of the affected families who said that their girl ran into school to announce to her class that both of her parents can be on her birth certificate now,” she told the Star Observer.

Franks cited South Australian same sex couple Sally and Elise Duffield as an example of the discrimination that had been taking place.

“They were considered by the government to be a couple, but they hadn’t quite lived together for three solid years,” she said.

“So because Elise was a little too fertile – which is usually not seen as a bad thing – and gave birth before they’d lived together for three years, their baby Tadhg hasn’t had a birth certificate for the first 22 months of his life.

“This law was a South Australian oddity… it could’ve been fixed by the government but it took the chutzpah of Sally and Elise to stand up for their son and help to change it.”

Rainbow Labor SA co-convenor Thomas Mooney welcomed the new bill but said there was more to be done.

“South Australia used to be a leader on these kinds of issues, we were the first to decriminalise homosexuality,” he told the Star Observer.

“This is a great step forward but unfortunately we’re still lagging behind.”

The passage of this bill is the first in what will be a busy year for LGBTI law reform in South Australia.

The South Australian Law Reform Institute plan to deliver reports on laws around sexual reassignment, surrogacy, and exceptions in the Equal Opportunity Act.

“Every one of those areas of outstanding discrimination has a real impact on members of the LGBTI community,” Mooney said.

“It’s not just about symbolism, people’s lives are impacted and no-one is more important than the other.

“The community has been campaigning for these reforms for some time, and it’s important that the community comes together to fight as a united front.”

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