Lesbian parents get new rights in New South Wales

Sophie Picheta June 12, 2008
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The rights of lesbian parents in New South Wales, Australia have been expanded under laws passed by the state government.

The new laws make it easier for children of lesbian couples to inherit money from their non-birth mother, and allow both mothers to appear on the child’s birth certificate.

The Attorney General for New South Wales, John Hatzistergos said that the bill means “the non-birth parent will have obligations to that child in the same way that every other parent has.”

The vote for the “Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Bill 2008” was passed last week by 64 to 11.

Shadow Attorney General Greg Smith voted against the legislation, in a move that went against both his party and the leader of the national party.

A member of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, Emily Gray, said that many Liberal MPs who voted against the reforms were confused about their meanings.

“A lot of that was stemming from the fact that they believed that fathers would be removed from birth certificates following these reforms and that’s just simply not true at all,” she said.

“With 71 per cent of the Australian population now supporting equal rights for same-sex couples, it’s about time that this equality came through,” she said. “We’re really happy that it has.”

While all Australian states have anti-discrimination legislation in place, laws regarding official relationship status vary from state to state.

No Australian state offers civil union or same-sex marriage, however some have a domestic partner agreement or registry.

In New South Wales, a lesbian or gay couple will still not be able to adopt children as a couple, but must do so individually.

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