Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gay Adoption - the reality

When laws do not reflect the modern reality you end up with headlines like the following:

Surrogates told to pay support
Of course the whole issue would be a non issue if gay adoption was once and all sorted out. It has been discussed on and off in New Zealand with the last attempt in 2006 but sadly that was put on hold due to the feeling that the government couldn't risk alienating it's more conservative supporters.

In this particular case the matter is made worse as the gay couple involved are based in Australia and Australian adoption and surrogacy laws are state based. Sadly Queensland law is even further behind New Zealand with surrogacy not permitted.

Because of this you have the ridiculous situation where the New Zealand women who gave birth to the baby - now been cared for in Brisbane by the gay couple who organised the surrogacy - been pursued for child maintenance on the grounds she abandoned the child.

This is the problem of course when the law doesn't reflect the reality of gay relationships. It can result in a number of unexpected outcomes.

I suspect the news will inflame a number of anti gay groups to demand the end to surrogacy.

However what is needed is the implementation of legislation to recognise the reality of gay adoption, surrogacy so that all involved have clear legal rights and any children have their rights protected.

Let's see if the New Zealand, Australian Federal or state governments will actually do something to clear the current minefield for adoption for same sex couples.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gay Marriage

Amerinz recent post on his civil union in New Zealand highlights how the law change in 2005 to allow same sex civil unions was an important step forward for equality for the gay and lesbian communities in New Zealand.

While a number of critics said only same sex marriage would be good enough this comment from Ameriz blog post summarises that the reality is that Civil Unions are effectively marriage and ultimately the law will change.
The interesting thing is that New Zealand society is clearly moving ahead of the law. No one we know is referring to this as a Civil Union: They’re referring to it as our wedding and say we’re getting married (even though, legally speaking, that’s not true). Because of that, I think that full marriage equality will come to New Zealand sooner rather than later.
Looking back over the news since 2005 records the comments  in 2006 of a number of conservative groups which opposed the Civil Union legislation.  They said the slow uptake of civil unions was a sure sign that the government was pandering to a small minority.

What is clear is that while the uptake may have been slow over time the numbers have slowly but surely increased. The important thing is that each civil union that does occur impacts not just the couple but also their friends and families. 

And as more occur in New Zealand ultimately legislation will be changed to allow same sex couples to choose civil unions or marriage.

Interesting Australia still has to take the next step to either civil unions or gay marriage and still seems to be struggling to make any real progress on the issue.