Proposed passport changes to recognise gay parents
Same-sex couples with children and LGBT activists have welcomed media reports suggesting that the Federal Government is seriously considering proposals to amend passport application forms to include the option of ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2’ alongside Mother and Father.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is considering the changes as part of its new electronic passport application system.
“Feedback from same-sex parents of minor passport applicants has highlighted difficulties they have experienced when completing parental consent sections of passport applications,” said a statement cited by the Herald Sun on October 6.
Rodney Chiang-Cruise, co-moderator of Gay Dads Australia, told SX the proposed moves are “simply a practical way” of reflecting changes in family types in recent times.
“These families exist and the department handling passports has had to juggle and struggle with out-dated forms for years in order to process applications correctly.
“This is merely a proposal to bring the application process into line with other agencies and departments and the realities of Australian families,” he said.
Sen Raj, the senior policy adviser for the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby agreed, saying that the changes only mirror the fact that families come in diverse forms.
“We welcome policy changes that enable the recognition of same-sex families,” Raj said.
“With non-discriminatory legislative reforms already in place, such as adoption and assisted reproductive technologies, to recognise same-sex couples as parents - Government documentation should appropriately reflect these changes.”
The Greens have also welcomed the reports and have urged the Federal Government to follow through with the changes.
“It’s crazy that passport applications are made much more difficult than they need to be, simply because of outdated forms and other requirements.
“If implemented, this removes another form of discrimination and makes life that little bit easier for same-sex parents,” Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
Despite stated opposition to the proposed changes by the likes of the conservative Australian Family Association, gay parents are optimistic that gender-neutral passport options will soon be available.
“You would struggle to find any reputable group who would oppose these sensible changes,” Chiang-Cruise told SX.