Monday saw laws come into effect in NSW that give most children with two mothers equal legal status and a birth certificate which reflects their family structure.

An estimated 1000 children in NSW will now have the benefit of two legally recognised parents capable of signing permission notes, approving medical treatment and making parental decisions. Moreover, these children will now be automatically entitled to inheritance and workers’ compensation if their non-biological mother passes away or is injured at work.

The GLRL has been at the forefront of this campaign for close to a decade. In that time, many children of lesbian parents have grown up without this protection and many more have been born to lesbian couples through assisted reproduction.

All of them, as well as those born in the future, can now proudly have both their mothers’ names on their birth certificates. Further reforms are needed to recognise and protect all children with lesbian and gay parents.

Same-sex couples should be eligible to adopt children as a couple, especially in cases where the child is known to them.

Surrogacy laws also need reform and the GLRL is currently working on a submission to the NSW Government on this matter.

There is no doubt that there is more to do and the law must keep up with the reality that same-sex families exist, and legal discrimination disadvantages children in these families.

So while acknowledging that we’ve got a way to go, let’s celebrate this victory for children as well as parents in our community. For too long, children have been treated as second-class citizens because of their parents’ sexuality.

This is a huge step forward for equality. And congratulations to the NSW State Government for giving the majority of families in our community the respect and symbolic acknowledgment that they deserve.

To apply for an amended birth certificate, mothers should contact the NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry on 1300 655 236.

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