NSW Government departments have been updating reports to reflect gay-friendly projects and federal equality reforms, but outstanding discrimination in state law still has no timetable for removal.

Annual reports on the strategic framework Working Together: Preventing Violence Against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender People are due shortly, detailing progress on promises made last year such as launching a new site: safetypartnership.nsw.gov.au.

The Attorney General’s Department’s grants program for GLBT violence strategies was also to be updated.

Other promises included finding better ways to collect data on GLBT-related hate crimes and developing a strategy to combat GLBT-related violence within families in conjunction with Twenty10.

Several area health services were to include GLBT issues in counselling and violence prevention strategies, and continue supporting gay and lesbian youth networks.

The Department of Education and Training agreed to meet in early 2009, and most other departments had proposed no activities.

The Attorney General’s Department recently released an online update of the Understanding Your Legal Rights: A Guide for Lesbians and Gay Men in NSW report. Bold UNEQUAL headings in the report highlight ongoing discrimination in federal and state Government policy, including the lack of same-sex adoption, legal co-fatherhood, and relationship recognition.

Same-sex couples are not able to get married under Australian law, and same-sex marriages performed overseas are not recognised in Australia. NSW does not currently have civil unions or any other way to register or formally recognise same-sex relationships, it states.

Under current law in NSW, people in same-sex relationships
are not permitted to adopt as cou-ples from NSW or internationally, but they may apply to adopt as individuals. In reality, however, lengthy waiting lists for adoption make it virtually impossible for individuals to adopt.

Independent Sydney MP Clover Moore also stepped up her advocacy of same-sex adoption this week, writing to Sydney residents about the ongoing discrimination and the current NSW parliamentary inquiry.

Current law endorses and encourages discrimination, jeopar-dises custody and guardianship, and affects children’s inheritance rights and access to financial support, she wrote.

The NSW inquiry into same-sex adoption is due to release its findings next week.
Civil unions update: page 7

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