Archive

Archive for June, 2009

MCV – “IVF Setbacks” by Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook discusses the delays for accessing IVF to same-sex couples – a delay of up to 5 months.

IVF

Delays in police checks will mean that same-sex couples requiring IVF treatment could be waiting five months.

Lesbians and single women gained access to IVF last December when the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Bill was passed. However the bill also introduced police checks as part of the screening process for prospective IVF recipients.

The checks are designed to ensure that people seeking fertility treatment are “fit to parent”, having no history of violence or sexual assault.

As reported in the Herald Sun last week, a doctor from Melbourne IVF has voiced his concerns that the government has failed to ensure the infrastructure is in place to cope with high numbers of police checks.

Read more…

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Gay Dads Australia Surrogacy Toolbar Now Available

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Gay Dads Australia is experimenting with ways of communicating with members and potential members.  We have a twitter account and and rss feed.  We now have a “Gay Dads Australia – Surrogacy Toolbar” for the Firefox, IE and Safari(WIN) browsers. 

It is only in it’s infant stages so far but has links to known surrogacy agencies that Gay Dads in OZ have used, links to GDA news, Link to the GDA website, Link to the Surrogacy Manual and a inbuilt radio (hopefully) tuned to JOY 94.9.

You can download it here.

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MCV – “Keeping Abreast” by Andrew Shaw

In this weeks edition of MCV [Melbourne] Gay Dad James talks about wanting to establish a Breast Milk bank in Australia for Gay Dads.

A group of gay men lobbying for a breast milk bank? The times they are a-changing, reports Andrew Shaw.

Being a father isn’t easy, even when your child’s mother is on the scene. But what happens when two dads get together and decide they want a kid? The answer is a financial, emotional and medical obstacle course that requires the stamina of an Olympic athlete to endure.

A Melbourne group that first met late last year hopes to take some of the difficulty out of the 1001 decisions that need to be made on the way to dual fatherhood. The Meeting Place is where gay dads who have, want to have, or have had kids can find information about parenting. You don’t have to have a newborn, you may have brought up yours already and want to pass on your knowledge. You don’t even have to have a child – just the desire to be a gay dad.

Read more…

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SX – “ACT Approves Gay Prison Conjugal Visits”by Peter Hackney

Online GLBTI News SX has reported that ACT will now allow conjugal visits to same sex couples, making it only the second state behind Victoria to allow such visits.  Clearly, equality is still lagging behind in many states.

The ACT has followed Victoria’s lead and become the second jurisdiction in Australia to allow conjugal visits for prisoners, including gay and lesbian inmates.

ACT Corrective Services confirmed this week to SX that the new Corrections Management (Private Family Visits) Policy 2009, made under the Corrections Management Act 2007, would apply to gay and lesbian prisoners as well as heterosexual inmates in the Territory’s only prison, the Alexander Maconochie Centre (AMC) at Hume.

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Herald Sun – “Same-Sex Couples Coy on Revealing Status to Centrelink” by Ben Packham

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The Herald Sun is reporting that same-sex couples are not revealing their status in large numbers, with only 2 weeks to go the question is whether there will be a last minute rush.

SAME-sex couples are refusing to out themselves ahead of new rules requiring gay relationships to be registered with Centrelink.

The agency expected 11,000 of its clients to disclose same-sex relationships, but only about 1200 have come forward.

By keeping their circumstances under wraps, same-sex pensioner couples can stay on the higher singles’ rate, saving a combined $165 a week.

Newstart and family assistance recipients also have a financial incentive to keep quiet because the payments are linked to a couple’s combined income.

But if Centrelink finds out, rorters will be liable for substantial repayments.

Read more…

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Top Person of the Week – Ian Hunter [Labor MLC – SA]

image The Top Person of the Week goes to Ian Hunter, the South Australian Labor MLC who on Wednesday 17 June 2009 spoke in the South Australian Legislative Council in relation to Same-Sex Marriage Rights. 

Ian Hunter delivered a passionate and personal speech which took aim at the usual reasons trotted out against marriage equality.  But more importantly, he took aim at Kevin Rudd (Australian Prime Minister) at his personal and government stance on marriage equality.

For that reason Ian Hunter wins the Top Person of the Week award.

His speech is reproduced below.

Matter of Interest Speech – Wednesday 17 June 2009

I K Hunter

Marriage Rights

I rise today to speak about a matter close to my heart. I want to get married.

But I can’t – I can’t marry the person I love; not in my own country at least.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says he and his government believe that marriage should be maintained as the union between a man and a woman. If that’s his opinion – fair enough. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. But to impose his personal beliefs on the rest of the community is just wrong.

Going on from that, the Prime Minister has added that the government might look at partnership registrations some time in the future.

Well, I might have accepted that – 20 years ago. But times and the issue has moved on. Registration is no longer good enough.

I no longer think that it is adequate that I might one day be able to go to the local council and register my partnership as I might register my dog. I want to get married.

Around the world, the fight for marriage equality has been going on – and around the world, states, courts, community and parliaments have been rising to the fight. They are deciding that homosexual and heterosexual couples can choose to marry, and can be treated exactly the same way.
The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden and Spain have all legalised same-sex marriage, as have the US states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine and Vermont. It looks like New York is pretty close, too, and of course there is the on-going debate in California.

Add to that the list of countries where civil unions are recognized – from the United Kingdom to Luxembourg, and many in between – and you start to realise how completely out-of-step Australia is beginning to look with those nations that we like to compare ourselves with. What a sad state of affairs when the nation that pats itself on the back for being the country of a ‘fair go for all’ denies its citizens this very basic right.

Now, it might be that I am out of step with many of you here in this Chamber – and I might even be out of step with some in my party – and I’m certainly out of step with Prime Minister Rudd on this issue – but I stand here today to let him and everyone else know that second best is no longer an option.

I am no longer content to accept the crumbs from the table.

I am no longer willing to accept a reinforced second-class status.

I am longer prepared to accept a proposition that my married friends’ relationships are intrinsically superior to my relationship.

And I certainly won’t accept the proposal that means my relationship is registered at the local council or some similar body.

Because partnership registration is about death – and what happens to your estate on your death. Marriage is about life – how you live your life publicly in a loving relationship with a partner and with our families.

I want to get married. Next year will be the twentieth anniversary of my not-being-married to my partner, Leith. Yes, I could travel to Massachusetts or South Africa and get married there. But that is not my preferred option: I want to share my marriage with my family and my friends – like we all do.

No-one has ever been able to provide me with an adequate response as to why marriage should be confined to a man and a woman. The response that this form of ‘traditional marriage’ should be retained because of the biblical tradition doesn’t hold much water for all of us who have no interest in getting married in a church – and last year, that was more than 60 per cent of all couples who exchanged vows.

The ability to bear and raise children is another reason often given for standing against gay marriage. You know what? I know plenty of gay parents who are wonderful parents; and I know plenty of straight couples who don’t have children, either through choice or circumstance. So that doesn’t hold up either as an argument.

As for the sanctity of marriage being threatened by gay marriage – all I can say to that is: if your heterosexual marriage is going to be somehow devalued by your homosexual neighbours marriage, that says more about your relationship than it does about mine.

The marriage equality debate is gathering speed around the world and yet Australia finds itself once again a backwater in this debate. It is time for the community’s voice to be raised, calling for marriage equality and I add my voice to that call today.

Because I want to get married – and you, Mr Rudd, are stopping me.

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TGLRG – Tasmanian Government Move on Same-Sex Parenting

image TASMANIAN GAY AND LESBIAN RIGHTS GROUP

LGBT Media Release Wednesday June 17th 2009

TAS GOV MOVE ON SAME-SEX PARENTING APPLAUDED FAMILIES URGED TO CONTACT UPPER HOUSE MEMBERS

Tasmanian advocates have welcomed the State Government’s move to give equal legal recognition to the same-sex partners of women who have children through reproductive technology.

Legislation has been introduced which will automatically grant parent status to the same-sex partner of a woman who has a child through IVF or other reproductive technology, a right long available to heterosexual partners.

The Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group and the Womens Legal Service (Tas) applauded the move.

Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, said all children deserve the same legal protections regardless of the gender of their parents.

"This legislation will give children born to same-sex partners through reproductive technology like IVF the financial and emotional security of having two legal parents rather than one".

According to Womens Legal Service managing solicitor, Susan Fahey, the lack of recognition for co-mothers can create problems in areas like emergency medical decision-making.

"We are in contact with same-sex partners for whom lack of legal security has meant severe disadvantage and trauma in daily life", Ms Fahey said.

The recognition of same-sex co-parents was attempted by the State Labor Government in 2003 with the support of a majority of the Liberal Opposition, but was blocked in the State Upper House.

Since then, most other Australian states have enacted the reform.

Mr Croome urged families headed by Tasmanian same-sex partners to contact their local state Upper House member and explain how reform will benefit them.

Same-sex couples have had access to reproductive services in Tasmania for many years.

For more information contact Rodney Croome on 0409 010 668 or Susan Fahey on 0418 434 226

Categories: rodney, Rodney Croome