More and more rainbow families officially recognised
SYDNEY: In what has been hailed as proof of the positive benefits brought on by recent changes allowing same-sex parents to be included on children’s birth certificates, it can be revealed that hundreds of children with same-sex parents now have both their parents officially recognised.
The newly released figures come as Relationships Australia NSW prepares to host a seminar for LGBTI parents next month in Sydney.
Labor MLC Penny Sharpe had asked Attorney-General Greg Smith in Parliament last year for the exact figures of the uptake by same-sex parents on being included on their children’s birth certificate after the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Act 2008 was passed almost five years ago under the Iemma Labor government.
The Act provides equal parenting rights to co-mothers of children born through assisted reproduction and allows both mums to be listed on their child's birth certificate. At the time, it was estimated that there were 1,000 children in NSW who have two mums.
Responding to Sharpe’s query late last month, Smith said government figures showed that until the end of last year almost 500 children now had both their same-sex parents now listed on their birth certificate, with an average of 124 such certificates being provided each year between 2009-12.
Sharpe was also provided figures which show that almost 400 birth certificates have been reissued to add a mother’s details to the birth registration for children who were born before the changes were implemented in June 2008.
“This is great news for kids, great news for our families and makes me more determined to not only have those parents legally recognised but to also let them get married,” Sharpe told SX.
“These figures show that since the laws changed the 500th baby has been born in NSW and that both his or her same sex parents have been recognised.
“The figures also show that almost 400 kids born prior to the change in the law now have the formal recognition of the family that they live in, not the legal fiction they and their parents were previously forced to endure.”
NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convener, Justin Koonin, told SX the introduced reforms had clearly had their intended impact of providing economic, emotional and legal stability for children of same-sex couples.
“Having two legally recognised parents able to act on behalf of their children is extremely important, and impacts on areas such as health care, contact, custody, inheritance and workers’ compensation,” he said.
Meanwhile, a free forum hosted by Relationships Australia NSW for LGBTI parents will take place on Wednesday, March 13 in Sydney’s CBD.
Terri Toner, from Relationships Australia NSW, said the organisation, which has been a leading provider of relationship support services for over 60 years, was holding the Proud Parenting seminar to help LGBTI parents raise resilient children.
“Our services are available to people of all cultural backgrounds, family structure, gender and sexual orientation,” Toner said.
“The forum will provide strategies for bringing up children and consulting with the LGBQTI community on the needs of same sex families.”
Relationships Australia NSW LGBTI Proud Parenting Seminar, 5.30pm, Wednesday, March 13 at Level 2, 175 – 181 Castlereagh Street Sydney. RSVP by March 7 on 02 8362 2888.