Friday, December 5, 2008

The West Australian - "New VIC Law Allow Gays to 'Commission' Surrogate Children" - by - AAP

Gay men will be able to commission a baby via a surrogate mother under new Victorian laws that have angered the Christian lobby.

The landmark laws, passed in State Parliament late on Thursday, legalise surrogacy and give lesbians and single women access to fertility treatment, including IVF.

The Australian Christian Lobby has denounced the legislation as “social engineering” and says it will enable gay men to “order” a surrogate baby on demand.

“It steps outside the natural family, two men can’t (physically) have a baby,” lobby spokesman Rob Ward said.

“The wishes of homosexuals to have children should not be placed above the inalienable rights of children to start out in life with a mother and a father.”

The new laws eradicate the need for surrogate couples to travel interstate for IVF.

Previously, women had to be infertile to qualify for fertility treatment, ruling out surrogate mothers and most single and lesbian women.

The legislation also gives gay partners and parents of surrogate children legal parenting rights and allows women to conceive using the sperm of their dead partners.

Rainbow Families spokeswoman Felicity Marlowe said the notion that mums and dads made better parents was outdated and false.

“We would say that parenting and the ability to be a loving, nurturing and caring parent has no link to gender or sexuality, just as family structure doesn’t have a link to the (parenting) outcome,” she told AAP.

Ms Marlowe has three children with her partner Sarah Marlowe. Each was conceived with sperm from the same donor.

Both women were able to access IVF because they have fertility problems, otherwise they would have had to fly across the border for treatment, Felicity Marlowe said.

She said the new laws meant both women could now be recognised on their children’s birth certificates, giving them legal status as parents.

“One of the big advantages of this law change is the social recognition that comes along via law reform like this.

“What we would say is this law reform is just catching up with social attitudes that have already changed a lot...acknowledging our family makes a huge emotional and social difference to our children.”

Victorian Premier John Brumby said the legislation, which was subject to a conscience vote, was about respecting diversity of families and not passing judgment.

“It’s about respecting that there are different types of families in our society,” he said.

“It’s government in a sense getting out of the way of individuals and families - letting them make judgments without us passing judgment on what we think is right or wrong, and putting the interests of children at the forefront.”

[Link: Original Article ]

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