The Tasmanian Liberal Party has decided to allow same-sex surrogacy after the Party’s attempt to outlaw it failed.

The about-face occurred during debate on the Tasmanian Government’s Surrogacy Bill and comes after many same-sex couples with children contacted the Liberal Party expressing outrage at the Party’s original proposal allowing surrogacy for heterosexual partners and singles but criminalising it for same-sex couples.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesperson, Rodney Croome, welcomed the Liberals’ decision, but added that conditions imposed on same-sex surrogacy must be the same as those imposed on other couples entering surrogacy arrangements.

“We are pleased the Liberals have responded to the heart-felt pleas of same-sex partners with children, and have now decided to treat all Tasmanians equally”, Mr Croome said.

“The Liberals’ former proposal would have made surrogacy a crime only if same-sex couples were involved, which would have put outdated prejudice ahead of the best interests of the children being raised by such couples.”

This evening the Liberals attempted to maintain criminal penalties on surrogacy arrangements involving same-sex couples, but when that failed to gain Government or Green support the Liberals proposed allowing same-sex couples to be involved in legally-recognised surrogacy arrangements if the partners have been in a state Deed of Relationship – the Tasmanian equivalent of a civil partnership – for three years.

The Liberals have proposed that heterosexual de facto couples should also have to wait three years before entering legal surrogacy arrangements but that married heterosexual couples should have immediate access regardless of the length of their relationship.

Mr Croome said that the same conditions should apply to all couples or the law will continue to discriminate.

The Surrogacy Bill is expected to pass the Lower House unamended. Support in the Upper House is uncertain.


Joe De Bruyn Challenged to poll SDA

Marriage equality advocates have welcomed the newly formed policy of the Australian Services Union to support marriage equality. This policy comes after a survey of 2,100 union members found 73% supported for equality for same-sex couples.

The Union made the announcement through their newsletter which can be viewed here

The announcement comes as a growing number of ALP State Leaders have declared their support for marriage equality, including Victorian Leader Andrew Daniels and NSW Leader John Robertson.

Alex Greenwich, Australian Marriage Equality National Convnener: “The ASU and their membership should be congratulated for recognising that the right to equality for same-sex couples is in line with the core beliefs of the Union movement”

Mr. Greenwich would like to see major equality opponent and Union Leader Joe De Bruyn poll his Union (The SDA) on the issue “If the ASU can survey their membership to ensure they are accurately reflecting their beliefs then why can’t Joe De Bruyn?”

Mr Greenwich feels the poll also reflects the growing chorus of public support for equality “This poll proves that Gillard and De Bruyn continue to fall further out of touch with ALP voters and the Australian public”.

The Labor Party will consider the issue of marriage equality at its national conference later this year.