Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Brisbane Times – “Surrogacy reforms should not exclude gay couples: group” by AAP

A push to decriminalise altruistic surrogacy in Queensland should not exclude same-sex couples, the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities says.

Queensland MPs will get a conscience vote on Wednesday about whether to follow other states and decriminalise altruistic surrogacy, where a woman has another couple's child for no payment.

Under the proposed reforms, legal parentage of a child born under such an agreement would be transferred from the birth mother to the parent, or parents, who commissioned the birth.

The association, which promotes the health and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Queenslanders, called on MPs to support making non-commercial surrogacy legal for all.

MPs should also agree to legally recognise both parents in same-sex headed families, it says.

"The only test of parenthood should be whether a loving, nurturing and safe environment can be provided for the child, not the gender of the parents," the association's general manager Paul Martin said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Numerous studies from Australia and around the world show that children raised by same-sex couples develop equally as well as those raised by opposite sex couples.

"We call on all members of parliament to be respectful in the debate today."

The opposition is adamant that same-sex couples and single parents must be excluded from any reforms to surrogacy arrangements.

Some church and family groups agree, saying the reforms, as they're currently proposed, will threaten the traditional family model and normalise same-sex parenting.

Queensland is the only Australian state in which altruistic surrogacy is a criminal offence, punishable by a $10,000 fine or three years' imprisonment.

Commercial surrogacy will remain illegal under the bill.

[Source: Original Article]

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