Fresh after becoming the first Australian state to put its money where its mouth is vis-à-vis Labor’s election promise of nationwide state-based relationship registries, Victoria has continued its stride on gay and lesbian law reform. It is moving to overhaul its fertility laws to allow single women and lesbians access to IVF, with laws surrounding surrogacy also being loosened.
Non-biological parents in lesbian relationships will be recognised as co-parents of their IVF children, and women need no longer demonstrate they are clinically infertile before accessing the technology meaning singles – both gay and straight – may apply.
Until now Victorian lesbians wanting to become parents through IVF had to leave the state and travel to either the ACT, Western Australia, NSW or Tasmania to access the technology.
However, the Brumby Government has stopped short of granting adoption rights for same-sex couples, saying they will wait for national consistency on the issue before moving forward on it. Which is rubbish – with Greens MPs in the balance of power neither the relationship registry nor IVF changes had any real chance of being blocked by the State Opposition and the same goes for adoption rights. The truth is that the Victorian Government doesn’t want to do it yet and will wait until it’s bloody well ready.
All the same, both reforms to our south will add pressure on the currently glacial pace of reform in NSW – which also has Greens in the balance of power and thus no excuses for not moving forward.
In other news, strange tidings from The Sunday Telegraph who’ve quoted ex-AMA president and team player Kerryn Phelps as claiming “several” senior Rudd Government ministers have given her a commitment the Federal Government is prepared to introduce civil unions under federal law at some stage in the future.
Anthony Albanese, Tanya Plibersek and Simon Crean were named as MPs who privately support the civil union option. From past comments Peter Garrett might be another.
Presumably this change will come after the introduction of Federal anti-discrimination laws with religious loopholes – which are currently earmarked for the second term of a Rudd Labor Government – so this will probably be Labor’s big GLBT promise for federal election number three.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd moved quickly to hose down the claims, probably hoping to placate a Christian lobby already upset over his refusal to veto the ACT’s territory-based civil unions, but time will show if there is truth to the leak.

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