Tuesday, October 1, 2002

A Community Law Reform Document - "And then... the brides changed nappies" by Jenni Millbank

Lesbian mothers, gay fathers and the legal recognition of our relationships with the children we raise

A Community Law Reform Document - 1st edition
Nappies is for consultation

In 1993 the GLRL developed relationship recognition options in The Bride Wore Pink. After a process of community consultation, a second edition of the Bride was developed in 1994. Bride became the basis for lobbying for law reform over 5 years until laws recognising gay and lesbian relationships were passed in NSW in 1999. This second stage, Nappies is to take the law reform process further, from partnerships to parenting.

This discussion paper outlines some of the issues in the laws that regulate and (mostly do not) recognise our families. We suggest a series of possibilities for change and recommend those we think are the best.

We are informed in this paper by existing social science research on gay and lesbian family forms as well as by the GLRL 2001 consultation on parenting issues. Our starting point is that parenting issues are more of an issue generally for women than men, as lesbians are more likely to be parents than gay men are, and more likely to be the full time caregivers to children when they are parents. Acknowledging women’s primacy in parenting issues does not mean we devalue men’s parenting relationships.

Our purpose is to find models that assist all our families as they exist now, it is not to express any preference for one kind of family – one parent or two, gay dads involved or not involved - over any other.

We expect that our suggestions will generate a range of views. This document is only a draft, it is not final. We need to hear from you about whether you think what we propose is helpful. You can respond in writing, by email, or at one of the community consultations through 2002/3 – see the details for submissions and consultations at the end of this paper.

We hope to develop a broad consensus from listening to lesbian and gay families about what law reform is needed. If there is a consensus we will write a final report and use it as a base for our future lobbying efforts, as we did with Bride. If there is no real agreement within our communities, we will issue a final report acknowledging where those divisions lie.

[Link: Full Report]

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