Thursday, October 1, 1998

Family Court of Australia, Papers and Reports - "Same sex couples and family law" by Jenni Millbank

Sydney, NSW: Family Court of Australia, Papers and Reports - Paper presented at Third Family Court of Australia National Conference , Melbourne, October 1998, 23p, Online only

Lesbian and gay families have considerably less access to justice than their heterosexual counterparts, both in terms of the limited number of avenues open to them to resolve family disputes, and in terms of the comparatively high cost and complexity of the existing avenues, argues the author. She states that, while in the area of disputes over the residence and care of children, the Family Law Act and the Family Court are among the most progressive and inclusive family law regimes in the world in terms of their approach to same sex families, actions and decisions have not, however, been all plain sailing. An examination of the court's practice shows, at best a rebuttable presumption of risk, and at worst an unshakeable presumption of harm to children from a lesbian or gay parent, argues the author. The author summarises what the social science research indicates about lesbian and gay parenting, and states that the very conclusive findings run directly contrary to many of the assumptions utilised in the legal system regarding lesbian and gay parents, and that it is thus arguable that if the sociological data had been utilised in the cases she has discussed, some different decisions might have been reached.

[Link: Original Article]
[Link: Original Article]

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