Same-sex parents will need to update their wills following the NSW Government’s reforms to recognise two mothers of a child conceived through artificial insemination.
Attorney-General John Hatzistergos warned while presumption of relationship and inheritance was generally retrospective, it did not extend to wills made before the new laws’ commencement.
It would be prudent for parents to whom the new parenting presumptions apply to consider whether their wills adequately reflect their intentions with respect to any children of their relation-ship, he told Parliament.
However, if a non-biological parent has not made a will the normal rules of intestacy will still apply giving children an automatic right to inherit.
Even with that automatic inheritance, Hatzistergos encouraged members of the community to make a will and keep it up to date so it reflects their intentions.
He reminded the community that only sperm donors or symbolic fathers could be removed from the birth certificate to allow a same-sex partner of a biological parent. Fathers through sexual intercourse cannot be deprived of parenting rights under the new laws.
The provisions cannot apply where the sperm donor was also the de facto partner or husband of the woman in the period around the birth, because there is a presumption that he would be the father, Hatzistergos said.
The bill will also update language to be gender nonspecific. Paternity leave is renamed partner leave.
The reforms to the Anti-Discrimination and Status of Children acts include amendments to 55 additional Acts to recognise same-sex de facto couples in areas ranging from Aboriginal land rights to university benefits.
This package of reforms responds to the many representations made to the Government by same-sex parents about their feelings of social exclusion in their role as parents, Hatzistergos said.
[The amendments] represent the third tranche of the Government’s progressive implementation of laws to ensure that people living in same-sex de facto relationships are treated equally for the purpose of all New South Wales Acts that accord rights and responsibilities to citizens based on their relationship status.
Further parliamentary debate on the reforms was scheduled for yesterday afternoon.