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Media Release 2008: NSW artificial fertilisation law a step forward for same sex parents

Commission Commission – General

23 April 2008

NSW artificial fertilisation law a step forward for same sex parents

Human Rights Commissioner, Graeme Innes, today congratulated the New South Wales Government on the announcement that NSW law will recognise female same-sex parents who conceive a child through artificial fertilisation.

This reform was recommended in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s (HREOC) Same-Sex: Same Entitlements report, released in June 2007.

The announcement means that female same-sex parents, who conceive a child through artificial fertilisation, will be treated in the same way as opposite-sex parents.

These female same-sex parents will now both be named on a child’s birth certificate which means that children in these families will now have two legally recognised parents.

“This will have an enormous impact on the day to day life of these families,” said Commissioner Innes. “These same-sex parents and their children will now be more readily recognised by school and health authorities as able to make decisions about their children.

“Children will also have equal rights to inheritance of the assets or workers compensation payments of both their parents if one or both parents are killed and injured.”

Currently when a woman conceives a child through artificial fertilisation, the male partner is presumed to be the legal father, to the exclusion of the donor. Under these reforms, this presumption will be extended to cover the female de facto partner of a birth mother.

Commissioner Innes said that the reforms were an important step towards equality for same-sex parents in NSW.

Mr Innes also congratulated the NSW Government on changing the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of ‘marital status’ to ‘domestic status’ to include same sex relationships in NSW anti-discrimination legislation.

“If a person is discriminated against because they are living in a same-sex relationship, they will now have the same rights as a person discriminated against because of their marital status,” said Mr Innes.

Commissioner Innes emphasised that same-sex couples should be entitled to the same protections against discrimination as all other people living in NSW.

Media contacts:  Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529