Australian First: Both Lesbian Parents Named on Birth Certificate
In a victory for same-sex couples in western Australia, two lesbian women will each have their names added to the birth certificates of their children, who were conceived by artificial insemination, while the sperm donor’s name will be removed as their father, according to PinkNews.
The Supreme Court decision from the Australian state of Queensland marks the first time a birth certificate indicates that both members of a same-sex couple were the legal parents of a child at birth, according to the Australian Associated Press.
The couple sued to have both women listed as legal parents on the children's birth certificates, since both children were born before a national law took effect expanding the rights of parents who give birth through artificial insemination or surrogacy. Australia’s sweeping Surrogacy Act of 2010 would, presumably, negate some of the questions presented by this case — and would likely do so in favor of a similarly situated same-sex couple.
PinkNews notes that if the couple had lost their appeal, the birth mother would have been classified as a single mother, which would have disqualified her from some social security income, on which the couple partially relies for support.
But the judge in the case was unflinching in her support of the couple’s claim of rightful parenthood.
"The register will now accurately reflect the correct parents for the children and the true nature of the relationship between [the couple]," Supreme Court Justice Ann Lyons wrote in her decision.
In a separate case, the biological father, who donated sperm for couple’s surrogate pregnancy, continues to seek visitation rights with the children. Australian privacy laws prevent release of the names of the adult and minor parties involved in both the birth certificate and visitation cases, according to both PinkNews.
Yet for his part, the biological father continues to fight in court for a place in the lives of the lesbian couple’s children. He disputes their contention that he originally assured them that he wanted nothing to do with any children that might be born from his donation of sperm.
"I'm happy to put my DNA into the world but I do not really want to be a parent," the couple claims the man told them at the time they conceived, according to AAP.