Lesbian couples in South Australia will be able to include both parents’ names on their children’s birth certificate.

The change came into effect today and follows the passage of the Family Relationships (Parentage) Amendment Act in June.

South Australian Minister for Social Inclusion Ian Hunter said the change was overdue.

“Lesbian parents have for a long time been denied the right to register both mothers on their child’s birth certificate,” Hunter said.

“However, heterosexual couples whose child has been conceived with donor sperm have had the equivalent right since 1985, with the mother’s partner being legally recognised as the father.

“This new law will at last give de facto lesbian couples in South Australia the same rights as others to be formally recognised as co-parents and ensure their child has two legal parents.”

Greens MLC Tammy Franks, who introduced the bill to Parliament, said the change ends years of discrimination for lesbian couples with children born via assisted reproductive treatment.

“This is a victory for common sense and decency,” Franks said.

“Now both parents are recognised under law, removing the difficulties previously faced by non-biological co-parents such as consenting to medical treatment, signing forms for school excursions, or when travelling alone with their child.

“This Act will give equal rights and protections to all children now, regardless of the marital status or sexuality of their parents.”

The change will also operate retrospectively, allowing non-biological mothers of children conceived in the last 10 years to be included on birth certificates.

South Australia is the last Australian state to make the change. Lesbians and single women in the state, however, are still denied access to assisted reproductive services unless they are considered ‘medically infertile’.

Hunter is set to re-introduce a private member’s bill to reverse the ban early in 2012.

For South Australian lesbian mums, information on the new law and how it will work is available from South Australia’s Births, Deaths and Marriages in Consumer and Business Services.

INFO: Call 131 882 or visit www.cbs.sa.gov.au

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