Home > Birth Certificate, gay, IVF, Lesbian, surrogacy > The Age – "UK vote marks parenthood victory for gays" by Paola Totaro

The Age – "UK vote marks parenthood victory for gays" by Paola Totaro

BRITAIN has forged landmark new rights for homosexual partners seeking legal recognition as parents.

The House of Commons unexpectedly threw out proposals that would have required fertility clinics to consider a child’s “need for a father” before providing treatment, enabling two-mother families.

The father’s role will now be substituted to require the “need for supportive parenting”. Both partners will be recognised as parents on birth certificates when lesbian couples conceive with donated sperm or gay men use surrogacy to have a child.

At present, as occurs in Australia, only the natural mother or father is automatically considered to be a parent when homosexual couples have fertility treatment.

The changes will be made to the controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which governs stem cell research as well as fertility treatments and abortion in Britain.

Proposed “pro-family” amendments, including a Conservative bid to lower the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 22 weeks, were defeated by a large margin, surprising the Labour Government, which had been prepared, publicly and privately, for a major defeat.

The attempt to ensure the legal need for a father in fertility treatment was rejected by 292 votes to 217, a majority of 75.

The conscience vote on homosexual partners has been hailed as the most important widening of homosexual rights to family since gays were allowed to adopt children.

Fertility clinics will now be banned from refusing lesbian or single women treatment if they cannot provide a male paternal model. This reason has often been used by clinics who refuse treatment to lesbian or single women.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said it was “wrong to pass a law” where biological parenthood was not recognised, “because clearly there must be a father for a child”.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, who led opposition to the plans, told MPs: “On the whole, the absence of fathers generally has a detrimental effect on the child.”

Supporters of the new law argued that existing laws discriminated against gay couples.

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo described the changes as fair and said they were drafted to recognise the complexities of modern British life. “What counts is the quality of parenting,” she said.

The vote is a further fillip for Labour, which had a major win on stem cell research on Monday when Britain became the first Western nation to allow the mixing of human and animal cells in stem cell research as well as the creation of so-called “saviour siblings” who can be screened for life-saving tissue donations for sick family members.

The Victorian Government announced in December last year that a similar law to the latest British changes was part of a reform to in vitro fertilisation and surrogacy. The new law will recognise the female partner of a mother who conceives a child using IVF, as a legal parent of that child. Legislation is being drafted and due to be ready in a few months.

With TELEGRAPH, NICK MILLER

[Link: Original Article]

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