Gay parents on the move

Gay parents on the move

The Victorian Government has moved to legalise assisted reproduction and surrogacy for same-sex couples and single people.

But federal Medicare IVF funding is yet to catch up; still the exclusive right of clinically infertile women unless Health Minister Nicola Roxon intervenes.

Adoption too remains elusive, not included in the new laws, but Victoria’s same-sex couples will still have more rights than those in NSW.

The Rainbow Families Council and Gay Dads Victoria welcomed the moves, likely to be introduced to Parliament early next year.

Under the proposal by Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls, only two parents of any gender may be listed on a child’s birth certificate.

But that doesn’t stop consensual arrangements taking place in relation to the care of the child, Hulls said.

That can happen now, and that won’t change if there’s consent from all the parties as to who’s involved in bringing up the child.

There were no recommendations in relation to changing the current workable arrangements that exist.

The proposed changes also fail to address self-insemination, currently illegal for unmarried couples.

At the moment the law is not clear, but the criminal liability under the current infertility treatment act for self-insemination was never intended to apply criminal penalties to those who self-inseminate, and that will not change, Hulls said.

What these recommendations propose to do is discourage self-insemination and all the risks associated with it and put appropriate regulations and guidelines around access to IVF.

The reforms came after a report by Victorian Law Reform Commission released earlier this year that found same-sex couples are equally good at raising families.

Sources in the NSW Labor Left are confident our own Government will move forward early next year with plans to allow same-sex parents to be jointly recognised on birth certificates.

Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby convenor Emily Gray warned NSW was falling behind in providing children in same-sex families with the basic financial and emotional security that comes with the legal recognition of their parents.

To fully recognise the diversity of family forms in our community, parenting reform must be a complete package -“ otherwise some of our families will miss out, Gray said.

The best interests of children should never be compromised for prejudice and discrimination.

Doug Pollard is a Melbourne reporter for SSO‘s sister publication bnews.

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