Natalie and Katie Perez-Muldoon from Gibraltar are expecting their first child in only a matter of weeks but have been fighting since August to overturn discriminatory laws that prevent both mothers from being legally recognised as parents. Currently, only Natalie, who is carrying their son, will be registered as a parent on the birth certificate. She would also have to register as a single parent household, something the pair have stated they refuse to do.

The couple, who have been together since 2009 and married since 2016, live in Gibraltar, a British overseas territory. Although the laws blocking them from legal parenthood of their child were changed in the UK 12 years ago, Gibraltar is self-governing and has not yet made the same changes.

With four weeks until her son’s due date, Katie took to Facebook writing “we jointly and lovingly embarked on the IVF process to grow our family.  It is absolutely heartbreaking the thought that our family is not afforded the same legal standing as heterosexual families here in Gibraltar.”

 As the law stands, the couple would need to “adopt” their son in order to receive the same parental status as heterosexual couples. Natalie would need to surrender her parental rights and the couple would be subject to visits from social services, court appearances, and character references in order to prove they are satisfactory parents.

This is not a new issue for the government of Gibraltar, with draft legislation having been prepared 18 months ago but postponed due to the 2019 election, Brexit, and COVID. It was finally published last week on January 28 and will allow the legal parenthood of the husband, wife, or civil partner if the conception took place when the couple were married or in a civil partnership. With only a few weeks until their son’s birth, Katie and Natalie are hoping that the Bill will be treated as urgent and passed during parliament this week.

Gibraltar’s Human and Civil Rights organisation, Equality Rights Group Gibraltar, expressed appreciation towards the government for their speed and consideration towards the urgent needs of families: “The families that propelled the issue were rightly worried. And ERG salutes them for the valour with which they brought the matter to view and which, in turn, motivated ERG’s Surrogacy Bill campaign.”

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