Thursday, April 23, 2009

ABC Online - “Gay parents urge federal-state reform” by Nicole Butler


Lobby groups in Qld say Premier Anna Bligh has turned a blind eye to the plight of gay parents. (Reuters: Max Rossi, file photo)

Audio: Same sex couples in Queensland push for equal parental rights. (AM)

The Prime Minister might be pushing ahead with same sex law reform but state Labor governments in Queensland and South Australia are not following the federal lead.

Gay and lesbian couples are not recognised in the two states and they say living under two contradictory legal systems is cruel, particularly when children are involved.

Lobby groups in Queensland say Premier Anna Bligh has turned a blind eye to the plight of gay parents, and they want that influential Queenslander, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to help them.

Louise DuChesne and Molly Galea are a lesbian couple living in Brisbane and discovering the joys of parenthood to 17-month-old twins Joseph and Lucienne.

Ms Galea is the children's biological mother, but as the non-biological mother, Ms DuChesne is also fighting for her parental rights because Queensland, like South Australia, does not recognise same sex couples.

"I'm not legally validated or legally acknowledged but I mean the piece of paper is important, being on the birth certificate is important," she said.

"The way we came into this was both of us trying to get pregnant and it was that Molly was the one who got pregnant. I have two children. It is not like I need children of my own. These are my children."

But the twins are not Ms DuChesne's children in the eyes of the law in Queensland.

At a federal level it is a different story. Mr Rudd is pushing ahead with his same sex law reform so that by July even Centrelink will recognise gay couples.

It is this contradiction between Commonwealth and state that is making things confusing and difficult for same sex partners.

Ms Galea says problems regularly crop up in day to day life.

"There is things like health services may refuse Louise being able to take them to health services, because Louise isn't actually a guardian, so that is a bit insulting," she said.

"But also if I died, I would want Louise to be bringing up the children, obviously, as their mother. But because she is not seen as the next of kin, there might be some hoops to jump through."

Shelley Argent is the national spokesperson of PFLAG - Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians.

She agrees the inconsistency between federal laws and those in Queensland is cruel and insulting.

"Couples could come from another state who are recognised, they move into Queensland and Queensland does recognise them but they don't recognise their own couples here in Queensland," she said.

Ms Argent says Premier Bligh is deliberately avoiding the issue of same sex rights in Queensland now that she has won the state election.

"They initially phoned me saying would I like a meeting and now, a month later, they are saying send in an email or a letter and we will consider it," she said.

Ms Bligh's office did not return the ABC's calls, nor did Queensland's Attorney-General.

[Link: Original Article]

[Link: Audio]

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