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Lesbian parents now permitted to be named on birth certificates

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  1. Great news!

    ‘The move has already drawn criticism from some quarters, with Conservative MP Nadine Dorries telling the BBC: “If we want to build a stable society, a mother and father and children works as the best model. We should be striving towards repairing and reinforcing marriage. I think this move sends out the exact opposite message.” ‘

    Well as LGBT people in the UK aren’t allowed to get married, I would point out that the damage to marriage has been wholly caused by heterosexual people. So why bitch on about granting a right to lesbian parents when they have nothing to do with the breakdown of marriage? Moreover, by her logic, no step-parent should be able to adopt the child of their new spouse either.

    The way to ‘mend marriage’ isn’t by attacking people in loving relationships.

  2. Nadine Dorries’ comment was based on prejudice, pure and simple. Amazing how the BBC treats cranks like the Christian Medical Fellowship – which supports ex-gay reparative therapy and believes witchcraft is a real phenomenon – as serious quotable sources.

  3. Umm, at risk of drawing some unreflective ire on this topic – and acknowledging that Nadine Dorries, Geraldine Smith et al’s comments were politically opportunistic smoke & mirrors – this isn’t really about the rights of adoptive parents – it’s about the Birth Certificate of a child who will some day become an adult human being who will, like the rest of us, probably want to know the identity of both his or her biological parents.

    What happens then?

    And what happens to the child who may – in some other place or time – find themselves living in a cultural atmosphere very much more hostile to LGBT people, with 2 mums or 2 dads on their Birth Certificate?

  4. I think it is fantastic news. The whole point of it being linked to fertility treatment is that the child can find out about it’s father when it becomes an adult. I also 100% agree with Iris – well said!

  5. Rob Fox, this relates to IVF. The father is a sperm doner and his anonymity is protected anyway. So why do you think this would change anything other than to allow both the PARENTS to be on he birth certificate? And quite right too. Are you missing something here?

  6. Pinkwinkle 1 Sep 2009, 2:23pm

    Yay to the legislation, boo to the MP. PROPORTIONATELY, the risk of family breakdown in gay and lesbian parenting relationships is exceptionally low. Check out the stats.

  7. @Will

    Am I missing something? Possibly, I don’t know – my question was a real, not a rhetorical, one. I don’t know much about the law surrounding IVF.

    I thought a Birth Certificate was about registering the birth of the child and the biological parents – where known – and that issues of adoption and parenting roles were a separate matters.

    …but hey, perhaps I’m living in the stone age or something?

    And I certainly didn’t suggest that the quality of parenting or the risk of relationship breakdown was different in LG families.

    No-one has responded to my other question, though – any thoughts on that?

  8. MattySouthCoast 1 Sep 2009, 3:03pm

    Could someone please clarify? The Parental Order that is being put into place to allow both male parents to be recognised as parents – will this allow both males to be named on the birth certificate, or will the Parentla Order be suplementary to the birth certificate, which will just name one parent??

  9. Lezabella 1 Sep 2009, 3:39pm

    “I thought a Birth Certificate was about registering the birth of the child and the biological parents – where known”

    But that’s the point, when lesbians have children they either use IVF which are anonymous sperm donours, OR they use a male friend who has agreed to help out.

    Anything other than these two situations, which are the most common, would revolve around things like a pregnant lady leaves her boyfirend/husband for another woman and then claims she wants her new girlfriend’s name on the birth certificate – this situation is not covered under the Bill. (and rightly so!)

    The only situation this Bill covers is IVF and the first two instances I mentioned so there is no issue.

  10. @Lezabella

    I DO understand the technicalities of IVF!!! It’s the LAW surrounding it I said I’m not clear on!

    So it seems to me that your response was descriptive, not explanatory.

    While 2 women or 2 men can indeed share the parenting of the same child, they cannot both be the biological parents of the same child.

  11. Rick Jones 1 Sep 2009, 4:42pm

    It’s more helpful to think of birth certificate recording in terms of who the legal parents are or who has legal parental responsibilities than matters of biology. As has been said, this is simply putting women in civil partnerships in the same position married couples already were where the husband was the father legally.

  12. This is the falsification of a birth certificate.

  13. “While 2 women or 2 men can indeed share the parenting of the same child, they cannot both be the biological parents of the same child.”

    Yeah, and? Do you actually understand IVF? Its been explained to you twice.

    I, and Lezabella, have already said “The father is a sperm doner and his anonymity is protected anyway”.

    Okay, if the anonymity of the father is protected in IVF, then the biological patent is NEVER put on the birth certificate. Thats the whole point of anonymity. So what bit are you missing?

  14. No, IAIN, unless you can give a valid reason for that statement, it’s actually just you prejudice showing, nothing more.

  15. @Will
    Valid reason is that a child cannot have two biological parents of the same sex. There is too much emphasis here on legality and very little on biology.
    This goes far beyond equality and we are ending up in la la land.
    Im sorry Will, but I really disagree with this. Truth is more important than politics.

  16. CommanderThor 1 Sep 2009, 5:33pm

    Will, a birth certificate is a LEGAL matter, not a biological one! It records who the LEGAL parents are, it has nothing to do with the breeders who made the child.

  17. CommanderThor 1 Sep 2009, 5:34pm

    Sorry, post was @IAIN, not Will, sorry!

  18. “Will, a birth certificate is a LEGAL matter, not a biological one! It records who the LEGAL parents are, it has nothing to do with the breeders who made the child.”

    As I said ….la la land ! I rest my case :)

  19. John (Derbyshire) 1 Sep 2009, 5:47pm

    Make the most of it girls! When the tories get in- Iain Duncan Smith & Nadine Dorries will waste no time in reversing this bit of progress!!

  20. I agree with IAIN on this one. It IS the falsification of a Birth Certificate – and I believe that, whether we like it or not, many people will see this as a bridge too far.

    There are some who appear to be living in an ideological dreamworld not too dissimilar from that of many Berliners of the Weimar Republic…

  21. “Valid reason is that a child cannot have two biological parents of the same sex.”

    Actually, its not a valid reason. And what about children of single parents, what do we do there? Kill them?

    You argument is flawed, and no doubt driven by a religious bigotry, rather than evidence…. if you had any evidence to back up your “truth”, you would have given that, instead you’ve gone for the “I’m right because I am” approach. Very clever indeed.

    And Rob, thrilled you can finally understand what people were saying, it delights me when people understand the basics of English. Ironic you woudl bring up the Weimar Republic, when in fact people like you are usually more in line with the Wannsee Conference.

  22. “There is too much emphasis here on legality and very little on biology.”

    Such nonsense. Do the children of abusive parents benifit more on biology than legality? Perhaps more legal, and less biological, and more kids can be protected from the likes of you.

  23. @Will,

    Ha ha ha ha!!!

    Looks like I managed to draw that unreflective ire I predicted with so little difficulty!!!

    No one here has disputed the right of any child to exist, and no one has suggested that LGBT people make poorer parents or have more unstable relationships than heterosexuals.

    Whether we like it or not, nature does place some constraints on us as a species. 2 women or 2 men simply cannot both be the biological parents of the same child.

    I note in passing that no one has responded to my second question:

    what happens to the child who may – in some other place or time – find themselves living in a cultural atmosphere very much more hostile to LGBT people, with 2 mums or 2 dads on their Birth Certificate?

    Whose welfare are we thinking of here?

  24. @Will,
    Children of single parents still have two biological parents. What are you saying? That single parents are hermaphrodites? !!
    I think you are the one with the flawed idealistic view!

  25. Rob Fox: “what happens to the child who may – in some other place or time – find themselves living in a cultural atmosphere very much more hostile to LGBT people, with 2 mums or 2 dads on their Birth Certificate? Whose welfare are we thinking of here? ”

    So we let the bullies make the rules??

    All this law does is equalise the rules for straight and lesbian couples. I know a straight couple who had a child through IVF – only the mother is the actual biological parent BUT the father’s name appears on the birth certificate as the father, even though he’s biologically not.

    However, until this change in the law, a lesbian couple where only one of them was the biological parent – just as in my example above – were unable to put the other on the birth certificate. That’s discrimination. You can’t say that one non-biological parent counts and another doesn’t.

  26. “Children of single parents still have two biological parents”

    My god, what’s with you people today, is this learning deficiency day in here?

    Okay, I’ll keep this simple. Yes, children of single parents, they have two biological parents. But technically so do IVF children. So what’s your point? What do biological parents go to do with anything? Its the parents, or those who act like parents, that are important. The upbringing. Time to see if you can move past this rather stupid mental block you have, eh?

    Please, make an intelligent point, of get lost. I have very little patience for stupidity and lowering my intellect to your level.

  27. “2 women or 2 men simply cannot both be the biological parents of the same child.”

    As has been pointed out, and at great pains to keep it simple…. birth certification is not about biological parenting when it comes to IVF. Whether you like it or not. Its that simple. Are you keeping up with us here?

  28. @ Iris

    Thanks for explaining the situation with such clarity and simplicity.

    It’s a pity someone like Will can’t explain himself with such eloquence and grace ;)

  29. Maybe if you actually READ the posts, it wouldn’t be so tiresome for us all, eh, Rob?

  30. Lezabella 1 Sep 2009, 7:46pm

    It wasn’t really a hard point to ‘get’ anyway Rob.

  31. @Iris,
    Very good post.
    But the IVF thing still leaves a child in the position of not knowing who their biological father is and there is a fair possibility that this will be problematic in years to come.
    But two mothers or two fathers on a birth certificate remains I think, an idealistic blip which will prove far more destructive that reparative. Time will tell.

  32. “But the IVF thing still leaves a child in the position of not knowing who their biological father is and there is a fair possibility that this will be problematic in years to come.”

    And what makes you think that this is different for straight couples who use IVF?

    The anonymity of the donor must be protected. Its what you have to accept when you go for IVF. Gay or straight. If you don’t like that, then don’t use IVF. Simple, isn’t it?

  33. @ Will
    “And what makes you think that this is different for straight couples who use IVF?”

    IVF for straight couples still leaves a child not knowing who their biological father is. Its the same for gay couples.
    And when the kid eventually seeks the truth she will be told “The anonymity of the donor must be protected”

    I suppose thats what worries me.

  34. “I suppose thats what worries me”

    Don’t get me wrong, I can see what this would be an issue for both children and parents of IVF. But the will of the donors are paramount over the wants of the child to know its biological father. Without that protection, there would be no IVF sperm donors, and hence the kid wouldn’t be asking the question in the first place, because they wouldn’t exist.

    A the end of the day, all studies, and common sense, show that two loving parents (or in some cases, one loving parent) are important to the well-being of a child…. not the gender of the parents.

  35. Lezabella 1 Sep 2009, 8:19pm

    Sadly I don’t think that much can be done about that Iain, otherwise men who have donated in the past will have kids turning up on their doorstep.

    That’s always been the argument against removing the anonynimity.

    But I see your point.

  36. @ Will

    Have a good one Will ;)

  37. @Will, Lezabella,

    Yeah, umm, I got the picture – there’s one right answer and anyone who disagrees is a Nazi and stupid!!!

    That almost makes Melanie Phillips seem sane! Ha ha!!!

  38. “there’s one right answer and anyone who disagrees is a Nazi and stupid!!!”

    No, Rob, you got it wrong…. we tried to explain it to you, we really did. Many times. Then you got all hot and bothered because you couldn’t understand our simple explanation, and just because you don’t understand something, it doesn’t make it untrue. You should learn to ask more questions, rather than bandering around insults thinly disguised as references, like the “Weimar Republic” one.

    It was a quite simple concept, after all, and 4 minutes with Wikipedia would have helped you considerably. But you chose to be an idiot, and I’m sorry we had to point that out to you. Maybe you can now work with that, and next time, you might be able to contribute meaningfully with the big boys and girls, okay? There’s a good chap.

    (Oh, and I’ve seen your posts in here before, usually conservative and anti-gay, so your last little jibe about the nazi’s is no surprise… )

  39. What pi**es me off is that straight couples have been able to do this for years but as soon as gay people get the same right somehow it is bad all round. Pure discrimination that is!! No-one batted an eyelid when it was a straight privildge (sp)

  40. Rick Jones 2 Sep 2009, 7:30pm

    People may be interested in this, which sets out the leagal position succinctly and raises the issues about the continuing differences between people in legal unions and others and the absence of rationale for providing for one legal mother and one legal father, and no more than two legal parents:

    http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_38603.asp

    Birth certificates simply aren’t about recording biological parentage in the manner of a pedigree animal’s breeding cerificate and substantial numbers of people have only a mother registered. No one boggles at this because a man must have been involved.(Until comparatively recently, only the mother of an illegitimate child was a legal parent.) By contrast, there is an ancient legal presumption that the husband of a married woman is the father of her child -pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant- still relevant to assisted fertilisation, which requires displacing for other paternity to be established.

  41. I know a bit more about this new law than most gay people because I am a gay parent myself. It is a mess and it has been handled badly and it is not a good thing.

    It has been arranged in order to provide equality between straight and gay people. That is a good idea, but the system itself is crummy so we are being given an equallt crummy system.

    There was a better situation for many gay people before the change and the laws actually favour straight people.

    I wrote to Stonewall about this and they agreed that the new law was flawed and would cause problems for gay parents who were co-parenting.

    It would have been better to change things for everyone to improve the system. People ought to have the right to know who their biological parents are. It could be vitally important and from a medical perspective that knowledge could save lives.

    It is true that at the moment if a straight couple has IVF then the husband in the couple is listed as the father, even though he is not the biological father. The law will extend this situation to lesbian couples, which seems fair in terms of equalising the situation, but not fair on the child.

    However this does NOT only apply to IVF and changes mean that lesbian couples in a civil partneship will soon be listed as the paents of any babies born to either of them. For lesbians using known donors who want the true biological father listed as the father they will not be able to have that. For lesbians co-parenting and wanting the father to be involved and have legal responsibilities, they will no longer have that. In order to get what they want these lesbians will have to officially give up their children for adoption in order that their natural male parent can adopt his own biological child. Then one of the lesbian parents will have to take out a step-parent parental responsibility order- this could be the biological mother! It is just madness!

    We need to change the whole system so that the birth certificate lists the biological mother and father AND has the option to list the partners of the biological mother and faher who also have parental responsibilty.

    Sadly what we have now is not really progress.

  42. Now we can focus on “civil marriage” and fully getting rid of “civil partnership”. Also remember there is still a ban on gay men and bisexual men donating blood. Not forgetting a FORMAL apology to all gay men in the UK jailed for “homosexual offences”.

    Achieved 8 things in 42 years in the UK:

    * Homosexuality made legal – DONE (42 years ago in 1967)
    * Implemented hate crime legislation – DONE
    * Implemended anti-discrimination legislation – DONE
    * Equal age of consent – DONE
    * Full joint and step child adoption – DONE
    * Section 28 completly abolished – DONE
    * De facto relationship status – DONE
    * Formal relationship status (civil partnership) – DONE

    Things NOT done (3) in the UK:

    * Implementing full “civil marriage” and abolishing civil partnerships
    * Abolishing blood donation bans on gay men and bisexual men
    * A “formal” apology to all gay men jailed in the past for “homosexual offences”.

  43. The birth certificate should have only the biological parents of the child.

    Having 2 same sex parents on there just makes it harder for the kid to find out his real parents if something happens and he needs to, or if the two same sex parents wont say who his mother/father is.

    And i was under the impression we could get married legally in the UK?

  44. “The birth certificate should have only the biological parents of the child.”

    Why? And I assume you mean that the anonymity of the sperm donor should be removed to meet this requirement then? So, I also assume all straight people should have the same imposed on them?

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