Queensland gay rights activists are outraged the state’s Opposition has taken a preemptive step to ban same-sex couples from proposed new altruistic surrogacy laws.
Liberal National Party deputy leader Lawrence Springborg moved a rival Private Member’s Bill last week ahead of the Bligh Government’s surrogacy laws which were still under debate.
PFLAG Brisbane spokeswoman Shelley Argent told Sydney Star Observer she was surprised by the move and labelled it discriminatory.
“I think [the LNP] just fear two men with children, I don’t know why,” she said.
“I can’t imagine why he’s bothering to do this as the Bill is only up for discussion. I think he’s frightened it may go through.”
Argent also rejected Springborg’s claims the Opposition’s bill was in the best interests of children, saying the argument stemmed from an outdated notion that only a mother and father are capable of raising children.
“Divorced dads, single mothers are just as capable of looking after children and with altruistic surrogacy it’s more than likely they would know the mother,” Argent said.
“Gay men have mothers in their lives and sisters and aunts.
“You’ve got to ask, what is the real fear here?”
Queensland is the only Australian state in which altruistic surrogacy is a criminal offence, punishable by a hefty fine or jail time.
The Opposition Bill would allow women the right to give birth to a child for another couple — for no payment — only if the couple is heterosexual. Same-sex surrogacy would remain illegal.
“This Bill untangles the web of social engineering the Bligh Labor Government has attempted to force on the people of Queensland,” Springborg said in a statement.
“The eligibility requirements for altruistic surrogacy are in line with the Bligh Labor Government’s adoption requirements and reflect the need to put the best interests of Queensland’s children first.”
The Bligh Government’s draft laws released last month included same-sex couples. Government MPs have been allowed a conscience vote on the proposed legislation.