The Western Australian government has introduced a bill to reform the state’s surrogacy laws, removing a ban on access to altruistic surrogacy arrangements for male same-sex couples in the state.
Western Australian Health Minister Roger Cook said by providing gay couples and single men access to non-commercial surrogacy arrangements in the state, the government would be “ensuring that our legislation is reflective of contemporary society.”
“A growing body of research tells us that it is not the sexual orientation of parents but a supportive and loving home environment that is the key to producing happy, well-adjusted children,” he said.
“Men already have access to fostering and adoption. These changes would give them another avenue for forming a family.”
The legislation was introduced to state parliament last Thursday and if passed, will give men the same access to surrogacy that women and heterosexual couples have had since 2009.
But the Western Australian branch of the Australian Christian Lobby has slammed the changes as “blatantly ignoring the rights of a child, to wherever possible, be raised and loved by their biological father and mother.”
“The Australian Christian Lobby does not support surrogacy, sperm or egg donation altruistic or otherwise, because it commodifies the wombs of women and treats children like accessories,” ACL’s WA Director Peter Abetz told Out in Perth.
“What this bill does is expose the lie that same sex marriage was just about two people who love each other being able to marry. The push to allow surrogacy for single men and male same-sex couples is symptomatic of a broader agenda to abolish traditional families.”
A fortnight ago the WA government also introduced a bill that would amend the state’s “forced divorce” law which requires transgender and intersex people to divorce their spouse before changing the gender marker on their birth certificate.
Western Australian Attorney-General John Quigley said scrapping the law would address discrimination and “ensure the gender reassignment process is as streamlined, efficient and expedient as possible with a minimum of bureaucracy, expense and unnecessary complication.”
“The existing law forces a married person to choose between a birth certificate that reflects their reassigned gender, and the maintenance of the legal relationship with their spouse, even when that relationship is ongoing,” he said.
“Such a choice can have financial and emotional consequences for both people involved.”
The “forced divorce” provision is a leftover from when same-sex marriage was illegal, and recently Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales scrapped their respective laws to meet a deadline of December this year put in place by the same-sex marriage legislation passed last year.