Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Progress Leader - "Kew couple’s vote hope" by Cassie Maher

A KEW lesbian couple have urged local Upper House MPs to support a controversial law they say will change their lives.
Jacqui Tomlins and partner Sarah Nichols were married in Canada in 2003 and have three children - Corin, 6, Scout, 3, and Cully, 18 months.
The pair are desperately hoping the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Bill, passed by the Lower House in October, will gain support in a December 2 conscience vote.
The Bill, which has met strong opposition from church and Christian groups, would give lesbians access to IVF, surrogacy or insemination in Victoria; and it would legally recognise the female partner of a woman who has given birth via assisted reproductive technology as a parent.
Ms Tomlins said as a non-biological parent (Ms Nichols gave birth through IVF) she had no legal connection to her children. “If I’m killed in an accident they don’t have access to compensation, or to my estate. I can’t provide legal consent for medical emergencies and if anything happened to Sarah I wouldn’t get automatic custody,” she said.
Ms Tomlins said the Kew community had been “hugely supportive” of the couple’s five-year fight for greater rights within same-sex families (Progress Leader, May 2007 and January 2008).
Favourable votes from Southern Metropolitan Liberal MPs David Davis and Andrea Coote were now “critical”, Ms Tomlins said. Both opposed the Bill in its second reading (20 votes to 18) on November 13.
“If they want to represent the community then they need to support this,” Ms Tomlins said.
Mr Davis said he was generally supportive of the Bill, but criticised mandatory police checks that could act as a barrier for those seeking fertility treatments.
Ms Coote said last week it was too early for a “definitive answer” until a report came back from the legislative committee with amendments.

[Link: Original Article ]

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