THE Australian Capital Territory has passed a suite of new laws allowing for the use of gender non-specific birth certificates.
Parents of any gender are now able to opt for either “mother” or “father” when signing their child’s birth certificate.
However, government records will designate one parent as the “birth parent” and the other as the “other parent”.
The changes, passed on Tuesday, come two years after the ACT passed legislation allowing individuals to change their gender on their birth certificate to male, female, or “X”, without needing to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
The new laws also created an identity document for gender diverse people to change their gender on their birth certificates if they were born outside of the ACT.
The document will allow individuals to be officially recognised by the name and the gender by which they live, so long as they can provide a statutory declaration from a doctor or psychologist confirming their gender identity or intersex status.
Additionally, in a move that sees the ACT government embracing the use of the gender-neutral “their” to replace “his” or “her”, both the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act and the Parentage Act will no longer contain gender specific pronouns.
The opposition Liberal Party supported all but one of the changes, arguing that parents should not be able to choose a parenting status that differed from their gender identity.
“What’s been brought into law today is that you can choose to be a mother or a father regardless of whether you’re a male or a female… [It] is a step too far that we just weren’t able to support today,” Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson told The Canberra Times.
However, Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury said the changes didn’t “take anything away from the people who would identify as mother or father”.
“For most people when they go to fill in their forms after a birth, it will be just like it’s always been,” he said.
“What these laws do is allow for people in broader situations, more diverse situations, to also fill in the form in a way that’s appropriate for them.”