Treated like bastards

Treated like bastards

More than 4,000 Australians are treated like illegitimate offspring because state laws are stuck in the last century, activists claim.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has urged Australia’s state governments to recognise the relationship between a child and both same-sex parents to comply with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The latest Census figures show more than 4,000 children are the product of or live in same-sex relationship households.

The solution for NSW families – first recommended by the Law Reform Commission 10 years ago – could be introduced by the end of the year thanks to the HREOC report and community pressure.

“Just like children born out of wedlock in the 1960s were denied inheritance and consent rights, thousands of children today are denied the security available to any other child,” Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokesman Ghassan Kassisieh said.

“The arguments against have been debunked. There’s no impediment except political will.”

He said support for reforms was increasing with a number of strong allies among NSW politicians, principally from Labor’s Left, but even among some Nationals.

Among the key players would be NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos, who Kassisieh felt would introduce practical reforms if pressured by the community.

The Lobby will meet with the 30 new state parliament members to gauge further allies and press politicians from both sides for a vote by the end of the year.

“We’re also set to meet with Liberals leader Barry O’Farrell and Pru Goward in the coming weeks to press for a conscience vote when the issue eventually becomes a Bill,” Kassisieh said.

“It’s too optimistic to expect them to support major changes, but whether or not you believe gays and lesbians would be good parents, the fact is there are children, thousands of them, who are currently denied basic entitlements.”

Currently only Western Australia and the ACT fully recognise the dependence of children in same-sex families, leaving thousands without basic protections.

The NSW government has held up reforms waiting on an additional Adoption Act review, despite knowing previous reviews advocated reforms.

A spokeswoman for Community Services Minister Kevin Greene said he would not comment on the issue until he received the advice on the latest review some time in the coming months.

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