Archive

Archive for July, 2010

Rainbow Families Council – Federal Election Statement

The Rainbow Families Council have issued their Federal Election Statement.  There are still many areas of the law that discriminate against our relationships and our children.  Make time to see you local member/candidate or at least write them a letter.  The points in this statement are very helpful in raising the matters that affect us all.

In April 2010, a national network of advocates, community members, researchers and service providers identified the following three priorities for reform and resources at a federal level:

• Marriage equality

• Removal of discrimination in adoption law, and

• Ensuring that federally-funded services are inclusive of children with same-sex parents and their families.

Rainbow Families Council is the Victorian community organisation representing same-sex parented children and their families. We urge all parties and independents running in the federal election to consider these issues.

Read the full Statement Here.

 

Categories: marriage, surrogacy

Towleroad – “250 Million Now Living in Places that Recognise Gay Marriage”

Towleroad is reporting some figures by Nate Silver on places that recognise gay marriage.  Unfortunately Australia (Big Fail) isn’t featured.

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“The big spike you see in 2008 is California recognizing gay marriage through the courts, and then un-recognizing it through the passage of Proposition 8. Right now, it’s possible to marry your same-sex partner in Buenos Aires, in Mexico City, in Ames, Iowa, and in Pretoria, South Africa, but not in San Francisco. With countries like Argentina and Portugal now recognizing same-sex marriages, however, the global trajectory has returned to its slow-but-steady upward pace.”

[Source: Original Article]

Categories: gay, marriage

SBS Radio – “The question of same-sex adoption”

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In New South Wales same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt, but a private member’s bill is seeking to change that.

Independent MP Clover Moore recently introduced the bill, which will be debated when parliament returns from its winter break in late August.
Adoption by same-sex couples can be an emotive issue, inciting a broad range of opinions in the community.

Laws governing adoption by same-sex couples vary from state to state with little uniformity.
The policy coordinator with the New South Wales Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Senthorn Raj, says the country’s same-sex adoption laws range widely.

There are very few states and territories in Australia that permit same-sex-couple adoption.
Western Australia and the ACT permit same-sex couples eligibility to adopt.

Tasmania permits a second-parent adoption mechanism for same-sex couples, which applies to step-parents.

Other states and territories currently do not have any mechanism permitting same-sex couples eligibility to adopt.

Raj says there is a misconception in the community that same-sex couples are primarily seeking to adopt unknown children.

He points out very few children are adopted domestically in Australia or overseas.
Instead, he argues, the real issue is about children already living with same-sex parents.
Across Australia there are over 4,300 children who live in same-sex families, but those children are being denied the legal recognition of both their parents.

This compromises the legal entitlements and rights a child is able to access around superannuation, workers compensation, custody and contact with their parent after a relationship breakdown.

Jenni Millbank, of the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology in Sydney, also argues law reform is primarily about children in existing relationships.

For same-sex couples the major issue with adoption is that if they foster or look after a child or children over a long period of time, as a couple they are not then eligible to adopt those children and give them a more secure environment.

They are also excluded from step-parent adoptions.

This means that a same-sex couple where one biological parent has died or there is no other legal parent, in the case of a lesbian couple who have had a child or in the case of assisted conception, for example, the family cannot formalise a parenting arrangement that is already in place.

Millbank says law-reform processes and parliamentary committees are important in letting everyone have a say on issues like same-sex adoption.

She says that generally they show you cannot make an absolute finding, based on sexual orientation or family structure, about what is good or bad for children.

Instead, Millbank argues, you need to look at individual people and couples and their parenting styles and the way they interact with children and make a finding about whether those specific adults are right for that specific child.

Political party Family First opposes adoption by same-sex couples, saying the number of children already living with same-sex parents does not justify law reform in the area.

Dennis Hood, a member in the upper house of the South Australian parliament for Family First, is opposed to legalising same-sex adoption.

Hood argues that the very small number affected by the arguments Millbank outlines does not justify a change in legislation.

He says one of the implications of a change parenting laws that allows homosexual couples to adopt children is that it would mean a change in the whole terminology of what parenting is.
Hood says parents may no longer be referred to as mother and father. They would become co-parents because, in some cases, the actual biological parent of the child is no longer included on the birth certificate.

Different groups have called on the Federal Government to take over adoption laws so they are more consistent.

But Hood claims legal reform would set a precedent he does not think Australia needs.
He argues that children have been brought up, where possible, by a mother and father for thousands of years. To change that role may be beneficial for the small minority of parents, but questions whether it is beneficial for the children themselves.

When it comes to fostering children, many agencies, especially, with religious affiliations, can reject some carers based on exemptions granted by the Anti-Discrimination Act.

While exemptions vary from state to state, it is not unusual for faith-affiliated groups to reject same-sex couples’ applications based on those exemptions.

Barnardos Australia is a foster-care agency based in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory that openly recruits same-sex couples.

Chief Executive Officer Louise Voigt says the main priority for Barnardos is not the carers’ sexuality, but their ability to take care of traumatised children.

She says that with same-sex couples it can be difficult because they are not approved as adoptive families. They have a number of (same-sex) carers who are highly successful and they do not want to move those children, who have strong attachments but still need the security of adoption.

Voigt says she would like to see legal reform because it would allow many of Barnardos carers to permanently adopt the children they care for.

She says that, with around one in three children eventually adopted, permanency is always in the child’s best interests.

[Source: Original Article]

Categories: Adoption

Brisbane Times – “Argentina legalizes gay marriage in LatAm first”

Argentina on Thursday became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, following a landmark Senate vote carried live on national television.

The law, backed by the center-left government of President Cristina Kirchner, was adopted in a 33-27 vote after 15 hours of debate. In this majority Roman Catholic country, some had reservations, but the law passed. "It is a historic day," said ruling party leader Miguel Pichetto.

Opposition Radical senator Gerardo Morales said Argentine society has changed, stressing that the bill was aimed at guaranteeing the rights of minorities.

The law tweaks the legal code which no longer will refer to husband and wife, but rather to "the marrying parties".

Same-sex couples will have the same rights as heterosexuals in terms of adoptions, social security and family time.

Argentina became the first country in Latin America to give a green light to same-sex marriage nationwide. It followed, around the world, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and Iceland.

[Source: Original Article]

Categories: marriage

ABC Far North Queensland – “Two Dads are Better Than One” by Sam Davis

A wonderful story from Far North Queensland.  Two proud Dads, one beautiful son and an incredible story.  Read about it and download the MP3 below.

Becoming parents was hard work for gay couple, Pete and Mark but they’d do it all over again if they had to.

Proud Cairns dads Pete (left) and Mark (right), had their son Drake by surrogacy in Russia.

A shiny child’s bike lies on its side on the front lawn of an immaculate garden.

Around the back gay dads Pete and Mark chase their son’s pet chickens around, trying to catch them.

Drake, 5, exclaims that the little birds are too fast for him.

It’s a happy, relaxed family scene. But it wasn’t an easy road to get there. After many hurdles Drake was born by surrogacy in Russia.

"We decided that we would have a child, that it was time for us to have a family. We wanted to experience the joys of fatherhood and we started our surrogacy over in the United States back in 2002," Pete said.

At the time, Pete and Mark were living and working in the US.

"Surrogacy rules and laws are much easier in the United States," Mark said.

While not everybody was comfortable with the idea of surrogacy, Mark said the couple felt their options were limited.

"We knew that there were certainly plenty of women willing to do it so if it OK with them, then I guess it was OK with us," he said.

Mark and Pete used the internet to find prospective mothers for the child they longed to have. Apart from the woman’s health, Pete said one of the big concerns was how genuine the candidates were.

"We have heard about a lot of scams and certain people who represent themselves as so-called surrogate mothers who are really out there just to make money," he said.

Pete said the couple also wanted to make sure that any woman they employed as a surrogate fully understood the commitment she was making.

There was also the issue of whether the mother would actually give up her baby, Mark added.

After many failed attempts in the US, the cost was becoming prohibitive. The pair decided to try Russia as cheaper alternative.

That decision presented its own problems. Language was the main one. The couple took on a private Russian tutor and Pete gave up his job in Australia to oversee the process.

"We were very dedicated to making this work….we decided that at some point we didn’t have a budget. Our budget was anything that we had earned, anything that we had saved, anything that we could borrow to make this happen," Pete said.

In the end Pete said they found a woman who they ‘clicked with personality-wise’.

"She was very quiet. She didn’t have a lot of demands or conditions that some of the other woman that we had met had. She seemed like somebody we could work with," he said.

At the first attempt, Drake was conceived via artificial insemination using Mark’s sperm.

When asked why it was Mark’s sperm and not Pete’s, Mark laughed.

"A flip of the coin I think," he said.

During the pregnancy the couple stayed in limited contact with the mother via a translator. Mostly they were in touch just when there were practical things to care of such as visiting a doctor or getting an ultrasound.

"We made it clear to her that we wanted her to take vitamins, that we wanted her to eat well. We provided the money to do that and we just had to hope that she would do it," Mark said.

Neither man was at Drake’s birth because they felt it was important to protect the mother’s privacy.

When their son was five days old, Mark and Pete were handed their child. To their surprise, Drake’s mother gave them the baby and walked away.

"I think she had resigned herself to this much earlier on and was trying not to let emotions get in the way," Mark said.

In fact, it wasn’t the mother who got in the way of Drake coming back to Australia with his two Dads. What followed was two and a half years of bureaucracy before the child received permanent Australian residency and another year before he got citizenship.

On arrival in Australia customs quizzed Mark and Pete for hours. Police were also sent around to their house on a Sunday morning to investigate.

"When people see two guys together, you know it’s like, ‘Where’s his mother?’ We’ve had a lot of people ask that," Pete said.

"I think that even if one of us was a woman, we wouldn’t have had the same suspicions and problems that we went through."

Thinking back to the police visit, Pete said the police seemed to want reassurance that the situation was ‘right’.

They checked if the couple had equipment to raise a child like a bed, clothes and bottles.

Mark said he’s sure that they were under suspicion of paedophilia. But despite the difficulties, he said the couple would do it again with no hesitation.

"We’re a family just like any other family," he said with pride.

[Source: Original Article]

[Source: Original MP3]

Categories: surrogacy

Not So Private Lives: National findings on the relationships and well-being of same-sex attracted Australians

2010 FULL REPORT – LGBTI National Findings on Relationships and Well-Being

The final and full report of the Australian national NOT SO PRIVATE LIVES survey is now available online.

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The 2,032 participants were 18-82 years of age, from each state and territory, and from metropolitan and rural Australia. Results are presented based on gender identity (male, female, and gender different), six age groups (18-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-82) and three age cohorts (<25 yrs, 25-34 yrs, 35+ yrs). Additional findings are provided for transgender/transsexual and intersex participants.

[Source: Original Document]

Categories: Uncategorized

The Wheeler Centre – “Rodney Croome – The Case for Gay Marriage”

Rodney Croome is an advocate for gay human rights and author of Why vs Why: Gay Marriage. In this impassioned argument he talks about marriage as a bond “to the exclusion of all others”. Croome argues that equal marriage rights – and the right to choice – are highly meaningful if Australia is to consider itself a nation of inclusion. He touches on gay parenting, Gillard’s failure of empathy and six reasons why we should change the laws to allow gay marriage.

[Source: Original Video]

Categories: Uncategorized