Archive for May, 2007

Herald Sun – "Gay ceremony double dads’ day" by Mary Bolling

THE champagne was popping, the roses were red, and the couple was happy – and gay.

Yesterday, Jeff Chiang and Rodney Cruise were Victoria’s first gay couple to sign a relationship register.

They celebrated the event yesterday as Yarra Council launched its Relationship Declaration Register, which offers to record same-sex and mixed-sex relationships.

* Park damaged: Midsumma festival costly

While signing the register will not give the Richmond couple the rights of marriage, they’re hoping it’s a small step towards more rights as parents of their son Ethan.

With friends gathered, the couple used the Fitzroy Town Hall launch to exchange commitment vows.

In front of civil celebrant and fellow gay father Jason Tuazon-McCheyne, Mr Cruise and Mr Chiang promised to be faithful and loving.

“You are my best friend, my lover, and the father of my son Ethan,” they said to each other. “I now proudly take your hand as you have taken my heart.”

During the ceremony, Yarra Council mayor Jenny Farrar told how the couple had mortgaged their home and travelled to the United States to have baby Ethan through IVF and surrogacy.

Ethan is the biological son of one of the men, but the couple preferred not to know which one.

Under Australian law, however, the non-biological father is not allowed to formally adopt.

“It’s a terrible situation to be in, that one of us doesn’t have parental rights,” Mr Cruise said. “Queer families — ‘rainbow families’ — are on the increase, which means a lot of children aren’t protected by their parents having rights.”

Mr Chiang held four-month-old Ethan during the ceremony.

Yarra Council voted unanimously to introduce the Relationship Register earlier this year, following the lead of Melbourne City Council.

Last month, the State Government also bowed to pressure from councils and lobby groups, promising to introduce a statewide register by the end of the year.

[Link: Original Article]


The Sunday Times – "No joy for gay `dads’" by Braden Quartermaine

THE first homosexual couple in WA approved an adoption are still waiting because no birth mother has wanted her child to have “two dads”.
Liberalised laws introduced by the Labor Government in 2002 allow same-sex couples to adopt children if they can convince authorities they would make suitable parents.

The Department for Community Development approved the couple’s application about three years ago, but so far no birth mother has chosen to give her child to them.

The two men may never become fathers because under the law a child’s birth parents also have to approve the new parents.

Gay and Lesbian Equality WA convenor Rod Swift said people should accept that already there were gay and lesbian mothers and fathers in the community, and same-sex couples were making excellent parents.

“Gay and lesbian couples now see that parenting is something they do want to do,” he said.

“There are more and more people choosing to conceive.

“It’s not something they’re choosing like they go out and get a pet; it’s something they are actively thinking quite responsibly about.

“The fact that they’re gay or lesbian is irrelevant to their ability to parent, in fact most are fantastic parents.”

The so-far-childless gay couple aren’t receiving any sympathy from Australian Family Association WA Branch president John Barich, who was thrilled they had not been given a child yet.

Mr Barich said it would be cruel to the child and it was only natural that a birth mother would choose a man and a woman, rather than two men, to be parents to her child.

“We’re very glad, we predicted it,” he said.

“A child is not goods to pass around, and the child doesn’t get to give his or her opinion until it’s too late — then he finds out he’s got two dads.

“Having children is not a right, it’s something nature gives you.

“Nature hasn’t given it to them — therefore they ought to desist and dedicate themselves some other way to humanity.

“Playing mothers and fathers is obviously not what is meant for them.”

But Mr Swift said: “When the Australian Family Association and other conservative groups turn around and say it’s cruel to children not to give them a mother and a father, they don’t realise they’re living in some sort of utopian fantasy land.”

The Liberal Party strongly opposed the introduction of legislation allowing adoption by gay couples, but is not committing to repealing the laws if it returns to power in WA.

“We are yet to discuss any possible changes to the legislation under a Liberal government,” Opposition Leader Paul Omodei said.

The Department for Community Development said no same-sex couple had applied to adopt since the historic first approval.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: Adoption, gay