Qld Govt called to jettison gay surrogacy ban
The NSW Gay and Rights Lobby (GLRL) has called on Queensland’s LNP Government to abandon its plans to prevent gay couples from accessing surrogacy arrangements, saying the changes go against promises made by Premier Campbell Newman only a few months ago.
The GLRL is also urging concerned residents and citizens of Queensland to put their names to a parliamentary petition sponsored by Labor MP Jackie Trad against the planned amendments to the Surrogacy Act 2010.
GLRL co-convenor Lainie Arnold said the LNP’s proposed amendments would prevent single people, people in de facto relationships of under two years as well as same-sex couples from entering into altruistic surrogacy arrangements in Queensland while also threatening criminal penalties of up to three years imprisonment.
“Same-sex couples entered into surrogacy arrangements in good faith under legislation passed by the former Queensland Government,” Arnold said.
“We believe that as a matter of equality, these laws should remain as they are. To effectively strip parents and children of these rights will reinforce prejudice against same-sex couples.”
GLRL co-convenor Justin Koonin pointed out how in New South Wales, surrogacy legislation which passed in 2010 now provided legal recognition to parents of children born through altruistic surrogacy arrangements.
“Same-sex couples in Queensland now face the prospect of up to three years in prison if they engage in an altruistic surrogacy arrangement,” Koonin added.
“When combined with a plan to repeal civil union legislation and the defunding of QAHC (Queensland Association for Healthy Communities), Queensland’s main healthcare provider for the LGBTI community, this is the most significant rollback of rights for LGBTI people that we have seen in this country.”
Queensland’s Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie first flagged changes to the state’s surrogacy laws in June during debate on the LNP’s ultimately successful moves to remove public ceremonies from civil unions for same-sex couples.
The local LGBTI community was surprised by the announcement, coming only three months after Newman had dismissed suggestions the LNP might make changes to surrogacy laws.
“We will not be making any changes to the laws on those matters,” Newman had said in March only a week prior to the state election.
Koonin said the proposed changes were in “stark contrast” to Newman’s earlier public comments.
“We are calling on the Premier to keep his word and protect the rights of children in same-sex and single parent families.”
Last month, the Queensland Law Society said it would oppose the changes as the new laws would be discriminatory and contain “significant” legislative inconsistencies.
Queensland residents and citizens can access the petition from http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petition?PetNum=1919