Media Release:  Monday, 2 June, 2008



The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today urged the NSW Parliament to reject proposed law changes which would dismiss fathers from some children’s birth certificates and also replace references to fathers and mothers with references to ‘either parent’.



ACL National Chief of Staff Lyle Shelton said a proposed bill likely to be debated this week would, among other things, see lesbian couples who use donor sperm to have a child allowed to have a birth certificate which lists the child’s parents as two mothers – wrongly denying the existence of a father.



The NSW Government’s Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Bill, which amends 57 pieces of NSW legislation, would remove the long-standing presumption that a child has one father and one mother – which is the case for the overwhelming majority of children. It includes amendments to other Acts which remove references to fathers and mothers and replace them with references to ‘either parent’.



“ACL is concerned that the commonsense, biologically correct idea that presumes a child has one mother and one father could disappear from NSW law,” Mr Shelton said. “It is a form of social engineering that ignores the overwhelming social research that says kids do best when they have a mum and a dad.”



Mr Shelton said that one of the main reasons the Iemma Government is purportedly trying to change the laws is to provide day-to-day practical parenting rights to the non-biological mother of a child conceived to a lesbian couple with the aid of artificial reproductive technology.



“This is completely unnecessary as there is already a system in place for doing this without re-engineering parenting. People who are in a parenting role but are not listed on the child’s birth certificate can already apply for a parenting order from the Family Court. This gives the non-biological parent the same responsibilities as the biological parent but without rejecting the presumption that a child has a father and a mother,” Mr Shelton said.



“Society needs to be reaffirming the role of dads in families, not dismissing their very existence from some birth certificates and further marginalising them. It also seems wrong to incorporate deliberate official dishonesty to a child’s birth certificate, denying part and parcel of their biological identity.”



Mr Shelton urged concerned NSW residents to join the ACL’s ‘Don’t Dismiss Dads’ campaign on its Make A Stand website at www.makeastand.org.au and ask NSW politicians to vote against the bill.



Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan