With the commencement of laws recognising lesbian co-mums two weeks ago, the majority of parents and children in our community are now legally recognised. As such, the GLRL’s focus at a state level is making sure that those families still missing out will be granted the same rights and responsibilities as any other. Particularly for gay dads, this means equality in adoption and surrogacy.

Last week, the GLRL wrote a submission to the Inquiry into Altruistic Surrogacy in NSW. Altruistic surrogacy allows surrogate mothers to be compensated for their time and medical expenses, however they cannot profit from these arrangements. The purpose of the Inquiry is to determine what role, if any, the NSW Government should play in regulating altruistic surrogacy arrangements in NSW.

Currently, under NSW law, families created through surrogacy face great uncertainty as there is a lack of legal recognition between a child and his or her intended parents. This results in many disadvantages in areas such as: parental authority, custody and contact, inheritance, and entitlements. In addition, legal discrimination against gay fathers seriously compromises their ability to provide for the best interests of their children.

In our submission, the GLRL emphasised that all children should be given the same rights and recognition regardless of the manner in which they were conceived. Our main recommendation was the introduction of a legal mechanism that would allow the transfer of legal parentage from the consenting surrogate mother to the intended parent or parents by a court order when in the best interests of the child. We urged legislation to be introduced that would ensure that children born via surrogacy are given the same recognition and rights as all other children born in NSW, regardless of the gender and sexuality of their parents.

With 71 percent of Australians now supporting equal rights for same-sex couples and their children, and with the broadest ever equality legislation set to go through Federal Parliament later this year, let’s make this the year of equality for same-sex couples, and ensure that none of our children is left out in the cold.

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