Archive for June, 2008

Ethan Playing Golf with Uncle Terry in Numurkah

Categories: Uncategorized

Same Same – "More Good News for Gay Families" by Christian Taylor

More good news from the Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby! At the beginning of the month we saw the historical passage of the 2008 Same Sex Relationships Bill through NSW Parliament, which provides equal parenting rights to co-mothers of children born through donor insemination and allows both mums to be listed on their child’s birth certificate.

In addition to this, now comes the recognition of same-sex couples and their children in the Federal Government’s newly released National Employment Standards. This will guarantee equal entitlement for same-sex couples to carer’s leave, bereavement leave and parental leave as well as rights in relation to flexible working arrangement for parents with children.

“It is encouraging to see the Rudd Labor Government incorporating the HREOC recommendations into the new National Employment Standards,” said Emily Gray, Lobby Co-Convenor. “This will provide the vast majority of families in our community with greater financial and workplace security, ensuring that lesbians and gay men can take leave to care for their partners, children and other family members.”

If passed by parliament, same-sex partners will be treated as members of each other’s immediate family.

“We welcome the sincerity shown by the Rudd Government in getting on with the job of removing discrimination against same-sex couples and call on them to continue this process in any future legislation,” said Peter Johnson, GLRL Co-Convenor, “It’s time for the Coalition to stop delaying same-sex reforms and work with the government to remove discrimination against lesbians and gay men across Australia.”

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: gay, Lesbian

Adelaide Advertiser – "Gay couples lose surrogacy access" by Joanna Vaughan

AN amendment to give same sex couples legal access to gestational surrogacy was rejected by the Upper House last night.
Labor MLC Ian Hunter introduced an amendment to the surrogacy Bill that would allow anyone who had been in a domestic relationship – including those in a same sex relationship – access to gestational surrogacy, on the grounds of making the Bill non-discriminatory to gay couples.

The Legislative Council last night passed the Bill to allow gestational surrogacy, which is a medical process usually used as a last resort when a woman cannot carry a child.

The practice was illegal in South Australia, but allowed in the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.

Under the procedure, a fertilised egg is implanted in a surrogate, who carries the child.

Upon birth, the surrogate relinquishes the child to the commissioning couple.

The surrogacy Bill was introduced by Liberal MLC John Dawkins in 2006 following reports that couples had travelled interstate to have the treatment, only to return home to face legal issues.

At the time, it was reported that some parents were so desperate to get their child legally recognised, they were committing medical fraud.

Mr Hunter said although it would be unlikely for gay couples to ever use gestational surrogacy, it was not fair to write legislation that discriminated people on their sexuality.

“We thrashed out the domestic partners bill in this place two years ago, giving same sex couples legal wrights, and now to have new legislation that is discriminatory towards them is just deplorable,” he said.

Mr Hunter who chaired a social development committee investigating gestational surrogacy and has previously supported the legislation, said he could not vote for it if his amendment was defeated.

The amendment was easily defeated with all Liberal members, some Labor including Carmel Zollo and Bernard Finnigan and Family First voting it down.

It was supported by Labor MPs Mr Hunter and John Gazolla, Greens MLC Mark Parnell, Democrats Sandra Kanck and Independent Ann Bressington.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: gay, surrogacy

ABC Online – "Surrogacy change backs biological parents"

A bill to recognise the biological parents of a child born to a surrogate mother has passed the Upper House of the South Australian Parliament in a conscience vote.

Biological parents have not been legally recognised as the parents of a child born through surrogacy.

Amendments were defeated to recognise same-sex couples in the legislation.

Labor MP Ian Hunter thinks the bill is discriminatory because it applies only to heterosexual couples and says he could not support it without the amendments.

“I would love to be able to support a bill which didn’t discriminate against gays and lesbians but allowed gestational surrogacy, but I certainly cannot support a bill that enshrines into legislation discrimination once again,” he said.

“We fought that battle and we won it and I don’t want to retreat.”

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: gay, surrogacy

The Age – "Gay parents winners under workplace changes" by Misha Schubert and Ben Schneiders

GAYS and lesbians would win the right to take one year each of unpaid parental leave from 2010 under changes to Labor’s employment standards.

But the move could face resistance in the Senate, where conservatives have flagged their unease over gay parenting.

Unveiling its final draft of a legal safety net, the Rudd Government also conceded the need to protect a lost tribe of workers.

Labor yesterday asked the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to create a generic award to cover workers falling outside the award system. It aims to guarantee all lower-paid workers 10 basic conditions, including the minimum wage.

But Prime Minister Kevin Rudd came under fire in Parliament for refusing to guarantee that no worker would be worse off under the safety net. Instead, he attacked the Coalition’s WorkChoices regime.

Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop seized on his refusal to give a guarantee, contrasting it with his pledge earlier this year that no working family would be worse off under laws to abolish workplace agreements.

Labor’s proposed safety net includes 10 statutory conditions and 10 award conditions. Since its first draft was released in February, the Government has acceded to employer demands that workers must hold a job for at least 12 months before they can request flexible conditions such as working from home.

It also made changes to parental leave, which would give gay parents the same rights as the rest of the community. Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce suggested the move showed the Government was not genuine in its commitment to marriage.

“If you say you believe in marriage between a man and a woman, you have got to be fair dinkum about it, you can’t draw a line in the sand somewhere around Western Australia,” he said. “The best outcome for a child is a happy family made up of a man and a woman.”

If the Coalition opposes the change, Labor would need the votes of the Greens, Family First’s Steve Fielding and independent Nick Xenophon in the Senate. Australian Christian Lobby chairman Jim Wallace said the move was an “inevitable consequence” of the broader push to enshrine equality for same-sex couples.

Industrial lawyers said the Government’s work standards left many questions unanswered. FCB partner Ben Gee described them as a “lovely statement of aspirational workplace rights” but “there aren’t any penalties or sanctions”.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Peter Anderson said the standards would add “costs and inflexibility to business management” but were not extreme.

ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said they did not go far enough and unions would push for improvements.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: gay, Lesbian

Australian Gay & Lesbian Law Blog – "NSW: Considering further review of Adoption Laws" by Stephen Page

Stephen Page from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia is a partner with Harrington Family Lawyers, Brisbane, a long established boutique family law firm. He writes a wonderful blog called “Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog“. [Ed – Rodney Cruise]

Stephen Page from the Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog is reporting that New South Wales are now considering same sex adoption:

Minister for Women, Verity Firth, during debate on laws to change 55 pieces of legislation including allowing lesbian co-parents to be recognised on the birth certificates, had this to say about adoption:

Currently, gays and lesbians, as individuals, can adopt children, subject to the same process of screening for suitability as heterosexual men and women.

The Minister for Community Services is considering adoption by all New South Wales prospective partners in the context of a broader response to a review of the Adoption Act 2000.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: Adoption

Sydney Star Observer – "Parenting Laws Pass Despite Church Campaign" by Harley Dennett

Children born to lesbian couples through artificial insemination can now have both mothers on their birth certificates after the Iemma Government’s parenting reforms passed 64 votes to 11 last week.

Despite Anglican and fathers’ rights groups campaigning strongly against the changes, only a quarter of Coalition members voted against the bill in the lower house, with a further quarter failing to turn up.

The bill passed the upper house without individual votes being recorded.

Minister for Women Verity Firth acknowledged the reforms did not address all the parenting needs of same-sex couples, but were designed to address the most common circumstances.

“The Minister for Community Services [Kevin Greene] is considering adoption by all prospective partners in the context of a broader response to a review of the Adoption Act 2000,” she said.

“Currently, gays and lesbians, as individuals, can adopt children, subject to the same process of screening for suitability as heterosexual men and women.

“Surrogacy is a developing area of law … being considered as part of the development of a national surrogacy framework. At this stage it would be premature for any changes to be made in NSW.”

It is also now illegal to discriminate on the basis of domestic status, which had Christian Democrat leader Fred Nile claiming critical debate of same-sex relationships could result in a $40,000 fine.

“I have been before the Anti-Discrimination Board in relation to what I regard as trivial matters,” Nile told Parliament.

“Vexatious individuals could say, ‘I’ve got another weapon to use against the people I disagree with’. It costs the person who made the complaint nothing.”

Liberal MLC Charlie Lynn used the parliamentary privilege to attack previous equal age of consent reforms as “exposing vulnerable young boys to sexual predators” and accused the Government of not having a public mandate on these issues.

Nationals leader Andrew Stoner warned the Government was embarking on plans to undermine bans on same-sex marriage, adoption and IVF [sic], but voted for the bill anyway.

Sydney MP Clover Moore joined Greens Leader Lee Rhiannon in calling on the government to proceed with “urgent adoption reform”.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: Adoption, IVF, Lesbian