Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Queensland Pride - "Surrogacy Ban Under Review"

Gay male couples in Queensland may legally be able to have a child with a surrogate mother if a review of surrogacy laws bears fruit.

A recent parliamentary issues paper reported that under current law people entering into altruistic surrogacy arrangements face a $7,500 fine or three years' imprisonment.

Altruistic surrogacy is where a woman agrees, for no financial gain, to become pregnant and bear a child for another person or persons.

“The [Investigation into Altruistic Surrogacy] Committee is investigating whether the time has come to decriminalise altruistic surrogacy in Queensland and join with the rest of Australia in managing this issue,” committee chair Linda Lavarch said.

“In 2006-2007, only 14 children were available for adoption in Queensland. Decriminalising altruistic surrogacy may offer some Queenslanders their only hope of having a child.

“The committee understands how strongly some Queensland couples who cannot have children want altruistic surrogacy decriminalised; however, we will give balanced consideration to all views put forward.

“The committee considers the interests of the child as the most important factor here.”

The committee will also consider the conditions and requirements of surrogacy arrangements, legal parentage issues and a child’s right to information about their parental history.

In addition, the committee’s discussion paper notes that adoption in Queensland is currently limited to heterosexual couples and that Queensland law does not currently recognise same-sex parents on birth certificates.

After recent announcements from NSW and Victoria, Queensland and South Australia will also be the only Australian states that do not formally recognise lesbian co-parents.

Action Reform Change Queensland (ARCQ) spokesperson Rodney Goodbun told Queensland Pride the lobby group had held “constructive discussions” with the Queensland Government about recognising same-sex parenting arrangements.

The group will prepare a submission advocating that same-sex couples should have access to surrogacy arrangements and that the Queensland Government must also undertake broader reform on same-sex parenting issues in line with last year's recommendations from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.

"It is highly likely that this investigation will flush out all the old homophobic arguments from the Christian right against same-sex parents," Goodbun said.

"But there is now a body of evidence stretching over 25 years demonstrating that children from same-sex parents have the same social outcomes as children from heterosexual parents.

“Kids grow up in all sorts of family arrangements with male and female involvement from parents, aunties, uncles, grandparents and family friends. The argument that children should have a mother and father has been refuted by the evidence that indicates the quality of parenting and family life is was counts.

"Gay and bisexual men, and trans men and women, with an interest in parenting may find that reform in the area of altruistic surrogacy is of particuler interest.

“I urge GLBT people to participate in the investigation by contributing to the ARCQ submission or by writing their own letter expressing your views about same-sex parenting,” Goodbun said.

Submissions close June 13. For a copy of the issues paper and guidelines on how to make a submission, visit the committee’s website at

[Link: Original Article]

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