Two gay dads have become the first same-sex couple in New South Wales (NSW), Australia to be recognized as parents on a birth certificate for a child conceived through surrogacy.
Surrogacy supporters have welcomed news that the two unnamed Sydney men have become the first gay couple in NSW to be the legally recognized as the parents of the two-year old child, who was conceived via a surrogate mother.
The Australian Supreme Court ruled the transfer of the child's guardianship was in the child's interest after finding the arrangement was legally legitimate.
When handing down the decision, Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton told the court: ‘I am satisfied that, having regard to the surrogacy arrangement, and the care arrangements for the child since birth, the making of the parentage order would be in the best interests of the child.’
The ruling is thought to be a NSW first under The Surrogacy Act, introduced in 2011.
The child’s birth mother will no longer be listed on the birth certificate after she agreed to have her name removed.
Gay Dads Australia, an organization set up to support gay men who are planning on, or who are already parents, spokesman Rodney Chiang-Cruise commented: ‘It’s a recognition in law in NSW, and in Australia, that they are the legal parents of the child, they’re not considered donors.
‘They are the first to be granted a parentage order in NSW but they won’t be the last.’
Jim Wallace, director of the political group Australian Christian Lobby (ACL), has condemned the judgment, commenting: ‘Love is not the issue here. Of course two men can love a child but they can never be a mother, no matter how hard they try.
‘Babies should not be created to satisfy the lifestyle choices of singles and same-sex couples.
‘This selfish gay agenda knows no reasonable limits and it is time that political leaders began imposing limits on them to protect the most fundamental rights of children to a mother and a father.’
However, Sam Everingham, spokesman for Surrogacy Australia welcomed the decision by saying: ‘It's great news, but really it's just following due process once the altruism laws came into place in New South Wales in 2010.
‘They really put in the provision to protect couples who'd gone through altruistic surrogacy so it's great to see it finally getting to the courts and parents being awarded that recognition.’
Couples found in breech of the Surrogacy Act face penalties of a two years jail sentence or a A$110,000 ($106,000 €86,000) fine if a woman is paid to carry a child on behalf of others unable to sustain their own pregnancy.