The Queensland Law Society (QLS) has branded the state government’s proposed amendments to surrogacy laws as a “miscarriage of justice”, claiming the changes have significant legislative inconsistencies.

QLS highlighted two major issues with the legislation proposed last month by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie. Planned amendments would ban access to altruistic (non-commercial) surrogacy arrangements for same-sex couples, single people and heterosexual de facto couples who have been together for less than two years.

Of particular concern was the suggestion that ineligible couples that sought to become parents through surrogacy could face criminal penalties of up to three years in prison.

QLS president Dr John de Groot said the organisation did not want to weigh into the debate over how same-sex relationships are recognised, however, it wanted to ensure that legislation was fair and human rights weren’t infringed upon.

“This means ensuring clarity in workable laws and freedom from discrimination,” he said.

“The proposed changes to the Surrogacy Act can put people in a catch-22 situation. For example, a doctor who is approached to assist a same-sex couple to access a surrogacy arrangement may be an accessory to a criminal offence under state law if they assist, and if they refuse, unlawfully discriminating against the same-sex couple according to federal law.”

De Groot added that the government’s changes allow for different rules to be set for different people and discriminate in a way that businesses and individuals may not.

“If companies or private individuals discriminate against people on the basis of their relationship status, they are violating two state and two commonwealth laws and a range of internationally recognised human rights,” he said.

“The current surrogacy law requires no change as it is consistent with other legislation and is non-discriminatory.”

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