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MCV – "Rainbow Families Win" by Rachel Cook

September 10, 2008 Leave a comment

The State Government introduced new laws on assisted reproductive treatment (ART) and surrogacy on Tuesday, which will bring Victoria into line with other states.

Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Rob Hulls said in a media statement that “the overarching objective of the reforms was to protect the best interests of children born using such treatment”.

“Families come in all shapes and sizes and always have. We want to ensure that regardless of family structure, a child born through a surrogacy arrangement, to a single mother or to a same-sex couple receives the same legal protections as others.

“These reforms provide a legal framework for what is already occurring in the community,” Hulls said.

The Victorian Law Reform Commission, which recommended the changes, found that parental capacity was based on good parenting skills rather than relationship status or sexual orientation.

The new laws will ensure Victoria’s laws are compatible with Federal discrimination laws by providing that women can gain access to assisted reproductive treatment regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation.

The laws will also ensure stronger legal protection for children by giving legal recognition to the commissioning parents in a surrogacy arrangement, or the female partner of a child’s mother.

The Rainbow Families Council, which represents the interests of same-sex parents and their children, has welcomed the new laws.

“This is a step towards law reform that recognises our children and families legally and socially,” said spokesperson Felicity Marlowe.

Although the legislation will be the subject of a conscience vote in the state parliament, Marlowe told MCV she is confident it will be passed.

“I think it will get through on the recommendations that this is in the best interest for children and families in Victoria,” she said.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: Felicity Marlowe, IVF, Lesbian

The Age – "Twins’ lesbian mums lose compo case against IVF doctor" by AAP

The lesbian mothers of IVF twin girls have lost a legal bid to sue their doctor for the cost of raising one of the toddlers.

The women, whose names have been suppressed, sued prominent Canberra obstetrician Sydney Robert Armellin for more than $400,000 for implanting two embryos instead of the requested one.

The ACT Supreme Court today ruled in favour of Dr Armellin, and ordered the couple pay his legal costs.

The IVF procedure, which used sperm from a Danish donor, resulted in the birth of twin girls, now aged four.

The couple, whose combined income is more than $100,000, sought $398,000 from Dr Armellin to cover the costs of raising one of the girls, including fees for a private Steiner school in Melbourne.

The court was told the twins’ birth mother had lost her capacity to love and the couple’s relationship suffered as they became mired in everyday tasks associated with raising two children.

But Dr Armellin’s lawyer said loss of freedom was experienced commonly by parents across Australia.

The couple said it was Dr Armellin’s responsibility to ensure his patient’s wishes were carried out during the operation at Canberra’s John James Memorial Hospital on November 12, 2003.

Dr Armellin countered by saying the birth mother only told him she wanted one embryo minutes before she was sedated, after previously signing a form consenting for up to two embryos to be implanted.

The case, before Justice Annabelle Bennett, sparked nationwide condemnation of the women in the media.

The mothers issued a statement during the civil proceedings arguing the case had nothing to do with their feelings towards their daughters, but with Dr Armellin’s failure to comply with their wishes.

“This has never been a case about whether our children are loved,” they said in a handwritten statement.

“They are cherished.”

The couple’s solicitor Thena Kyprianou said her clients, who live in Melbourne, were shocked by the decision.

“They’re disappointed,” Ms Kyprianou told reporters.

“They said they are shocked and that they will consider their options further once they have an opportunity to read the judgment.”

Ms Kyprianou said the publicity surrounding the case had destroyed her clients’ privacy.

Dr Armellin’s barrister Kim Burke said her client was relieved but mindful the women have 28 days to decide whether to lodge an appeal.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: IVF, Lesbian

ABC Online – "NSW in rights push for lesbian mums" by Dean Lewins

The New South Wales Government wants a federal law amended so children of lesbian couples can seek child support if their parents separate.

State Attorney-General John Hatzistergos says co-mothers are not recognised in Family Court proceedings under the current laws.

Mr Hatzistergos says he will ask the Federal Government to change the Family Law Act to include lesbian parents at a meeting of attorneys-general this week.

“It’s important that the laws be amended to ensure that these children are treated in the same way that children of heterosexual relationships are, so that in the event that the parents split up, there is an entitlement for that child to be able to seek child support from co-mothers,” he said.

“It’s important to recognise that these relationships exist and these children exist, whatever one might think about them.

“And bearing in mind those facts, it’s logical to ensure that we have a civilised way of ensuring the economic security of these children.”

The State Government last month expanded the rights of NSW children with lesbian parents, clearing the way for children from lesbian couples to inherit money from and receive workers’ compensation on behalf of their non-birth parent.

The reforms allowed both mothers to appear on their child’s birth certificate.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: IVF, Lesbian

ABC Online – "No adoption rights for same-sex couples: Bligh"

Ms Bligh says only about 20 babies are now put up for adoption each year in Queensland.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says same-sex couples will not be allowed to adopt children under proposed new laws.

State Cabinet yesterday approved several changes, including allowing de facto couples in long-term relationships to adopt.

The Government has also released a discussion paper on whether to give children and ‘birth parents’ involved in pre-1991 adoptions more access to information about each other.

Ms Bligh says only about 20 babies are now put up for adoption each year in Queensland.

“In an environment when you have such a small number of babies and such a large number of couples seeking to adopt, the onus is on the state to make a judgement about the best possible placement for a child and the prospect of that being anything other than couples as I have described, we think is very low,” she said.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: Adoption, gay, Lesbian

Herald Sun – "MPs also choose on gays’ fertility rights" by John Ferguson

STATE Cabinet has backed a vote among Labor MPs on legislation covering fertility treatment access for gays and single women.

Premier John Brumby has told the MPs they will have a free vote on assisted reproductive technology (ART) and surrogacy.

The Government is drafting legislation to better enable gay couples and single women to have children and expects it to be tabled this year.

Last week’s decision to allow a conscience vote will appease concerns raised by Catholic MPs uncertain about the broadening of treatment, including IVF.

Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu is also set to allow his MPs a free vote, though this depends on the Bill’s detail.

Mr Brumby has previously supported a conscience vote on abortion reforms being backed by the Government, making the last half of the year a potentially divisive environment in the State Parliament.

The Premier told MPs the ART issue was complex and the sort of subject on which MPs could determine their position on the basis of their own conscience.

Attorney-General Rob Hulls announced plans to reform ART legislation just before Christmas.

Mr Hulls said that the changes would bring Victoria into line with other states and “better reflect the reality of modern families”.

“The reality is that many Victorian children are already born to same-sex couples and to single women and yet those children don’t enjoy the same legal protections as others,” Mr Hulls said in December.

The changes are set to be based on the recommendations of the Victorian Law Reform Commission.

Under those proposed changes:

GAYS would not be forced to travel interstate for treatment to become pregnant.

A PANEL would be set up to screen people seeking the treatment in a clinic if convicted of a sexual offence.

SURROGACY arrangements would be changed to make it easier for surrogate mothers to receive treatment.

THE ban on commercial surrogacy would continue.

THE mother’s female partner would be recognised as a parent of the child who was conceived using treatment.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: gay, IVF, Lesbian, surrogacy

6minutes.com.au – "Medicare to drop gay discrimination" by Michael Woodhead

Medicare discrimination against gay couples will be eliminated from next year with plans to give same sex couples and their children equal rights to Medicare and PBS safety net thresholds, the government has announced.

At the moment, same-sex couples are not considered a family but as two individuals for the safety nets. Likewise, children of same-sex couples are treated as the family member of only one of the parents, creating an additional financial burden by not having everyone included in each safety net.

But new legislation to come into effect from 1 January 2009 will redefine couples and families in the national health and health Insurance acts so that “people in same sex relationships will have access to the same financial entitlements as couples who are either married or in de-facto relationships,” says Medicare Australia.

Medicare has also announced that restrictions on reversal of elective sterilisation have been removed from 1 July to allow fertility restoration.

[Link: Original Article]

Categories: gay, Lesbian, Medicare

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