Surrogacy rights to go for Qld gay couples

 

Gay rights campaigners erupted in anger at state parliament on Thursday night, when Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie flagged the repeal of parts of the former Labor government’s Surrogacy Act.

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Defacto couples in relationships of less than two years will also be denied surrogacy rights, he told the parliament.

The announcement came at the end of a debate over the government’s plan to water down Labor’s same-sex civil unions laws.

The changes, which were passed, will deny same-sex couples a state sanctioned ceremony when they enter into what will now be known as registered relationships.

Police had to remove some protesters during the debate, which ended with the announcement about planned changes to surrogacy arrangements.

“The government will be changing the surrogacy laws in the future,” said Mr Bleijie told parliament.

“We will be repealing the provisions in the Surrogacy Act that deal with same sex couples, defactos of less than two years and singles.

Howls of “shame” and “bigots” were directed at Liberal National Party MPs as they passed the changes to same-sex unions 69 to eight.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk drew applause as she described the winding back of Labor’s civil union laws as a slap in the face for same-sex couples.

“I fundamentally believe in equality for all Queenslanders including people in same-sex relations,” she said.

She said the changes were removing rights from Queensland couples whose only sin was that they were in committed, same-sex relationships.

The surrogacy changes are a win for Christian lobby groups, who Premier Campbell Newman acknowledged played a major role in the changes to same-sex unions.

Mr Newman said he decided to remove aspects Labor’s civil unions laws because they mimicked marriage, and that offended some in the Christian community.

Earlier this month, the premier admitted his government was looking at changes to the Surrogacy Act too.

FamilyVoice Queensland and the Australian Family Association earlier this month said surrogacy rights for gay couples was the next battlefront, after winning changes on same-sex unions.

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) said the Newman government has sent a strong message to Canberra that “protecting marriage is popular”.

“We appreciate the LNP protecting marriage in Queensland, given the abuse from intolerant gay activists, the Greens and GetUp that anyone standing up for marriage is subjected to,” ACL Queensland director Wendy Francis said in a statement.

She also welcomed the plan to stop single and same-sex couples from “acquiring babies” through surrogacy.

“This is the right thing and is in the best interest of the child, something the state is bound to uphold under the UN Convention on the rights of the child,” she said.

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