A new guide has been released to help gays and lesbians better understand the law when it comes to starting a family.

The new online Rainbow Families and the Law resource has been developed by Victoria’s Rainbow Families Council and funded by the Department of Justice.

Rainbow Families Council co-convenor Felicity Marlowe said the kit is the first of its kind in Victoria.

“It’s written from our community’s voice,” Marlowe told Sydney Star Observer. “People don’t tend to need the information until they’re up to the stage of starting a family … we wanted to have an up-to-date, queer voice to explain what the situation is in Victoria, and all the different ways in which you can create a family, whether you’re a single gay guy to a single lesbian, to two women or two men.”

The guide covers changes to law as a result of the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act which has come into effect this year.

Marlowe said the intersection of federal and state laws can become confusing to many.

“One of our issues had been — although the [ART] Bill got passed in 2008, as did all the [85] federal reforms — the Wear it With Pride website explained the federal laws, but didn’t give anyone in Victoria a sense of how those federal laws intersect with state laws.

“The state laws only came into effect in January this year and it was clear to us that the only people going to have information were all the different bodies that needed to have their own information about what they did.”

Marlowe said while different organisations had listed the new changes, there was no one-stop information source.

“There was no documentation produced by Government that took you through… pre-conception, how you might go about it, all the way through to how you might go about registering the birth,” she said.

“We wanted to create something that could take you through the journey of creating your family, that was written in a clear voice, that has our community as the main audience and gives people a really good chance to think about, not just the legal implications of their choices, but the emotional implications of their choices.”

The Rainbow Families Council is also set to embark on a letter writing campaign for the state election, asking MPs for reform Victoria’s adoption laws to allow for same-sex parent adoption.

info: To access Rainbow Families and the Law, visit www.rainbowfamiles.org.a

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