LGBT rights in New South Wales
||This article has no lead section. (June 2012)|
|LGBT rights in New South Wales|
New South Wales (Australia)
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||Legal since 1984,
age of consent equalized at 16 since 2003
|Gender identity/expression||Yes, since 1996|
|Discrimination protections||Yes, since 1983|
|Statewide Relationship Register, since 2010|
|Adoption||Yes, since 2010|
 Activism and decriminalization
The Campaign Against Moral Persecution, also known as C.A.M.P., was founded in Sydney in September 1970 and was one of Australia's first gay rights organisations. C.A.M.P. raised the profile and acceptance of Australia's gay and lesbian communities.
On 24 June 1978 gay rights activists in Sydney staged a morning protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots which took place in New York in June 1969. Although the organisers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police. Fifty-three of the marchers were arrested. Although most charges were eventually dropped, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names of those arrested in full, leading to many people being outed to their friends and places of employment, and many of those arrested lost their jobs as homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales until 1984. The event was held each year thereafter and is now known as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2008.
New South Wales legalised male homosexuality in 1984 with an unequal age of consent of 18 (it was 16 for heterosexual and lesbian couples). In 2003, 19 years later the New South Wales Government equalised the age of consent to 16 under the Crimes Act 1900.
 Discrimination protections
In 1977, the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 which prohibits discrimination in places of work, the public education system, delivery of goods and services, and other services such as banking, health care, property and night clubs was passed in New South Wales. Among other things, it covers homosexuality, marital or domestic status, transgender status, as well as HIV/AIDS status. Homosexuality was added in 1983, vilification of certain groups was added in 1993, transgender status and HIV/AIDS status (under disability) was added in 1996 and then in 2008, marital or domestic status was added.
 Recognition of same-sex relationships
 De facto couples
In 1999, the Property (Relationships) Legislation Amendment Act was introduced, which recognised same-sex couples in a variety of legislation, including the Workers Compensation Act, the Victims Compensation Act and the Criminal Procedure Act. Further rights were given in 2002 through the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Relationships) Act
On 6 September 1999, New South Wales Attorney General Hon J. W. Shaw QC MLC requested the Law Reform Commission of New South Wales to inquire into Relationships and the Law. The inquiry, which followed new relationship and property laws at the time, also looked at children of same-sex couples and recognition of their relationship with both parents. The commission's report on relationships was very extensive, included many recommendations and took the LRC itself seven years to complete. The report was handed to the previous NSW Attorney-General in June 2006. New South Wales Attorney General John Hatzistergos blocked access to the report for two years on the grounds he would table it in parliament sometime in the future. Previous reports by the commission have recommended stepparent adoption provisions to include same-sex de facto relationships.
The City of Sydney created a Relationships Declaration Program in 2005 available for all couples offering limited legal recognition. While making a relationship declaration does not confer legal rights in the way marriage does, it may be used to demonstrate the existence of a de facto relationship within the meaning of the NSW Property (Relationships) Act 1984 and other legislation.
On 4 June 2008, the New South Wales Parliament passed the Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Bill 2008 which recognises co-mothers as legal parents of children born through donor insemination, provides birth certificates allowing both mums to be recognised, creates amendments to 57 pieces of NSW legislation to ensure de facto couples, including same-sex couples, are treated equally with married couples, and creates amendments to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act to ensure same-sex couples are protected from discrimination on the basis of their "marital or domestic status" in employment, accommodation and access to other goods and services. The bill passed with a vote of 64-11. The Law Reform Commission report recommended an optional state-wide registry for same-sex couples. Although the Government initially declined to implement this reform back in 2007, it proceeded in creating a relationships registry in 2010 (see below).
 Registered relationships
In February 2010, New South Wales Attorney General Hatzistergos announced that the state government will introduce legislation for a state-wide relationships register modelled on ones already in place in the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania. Entering into a "registered relationship" provides conclusive proof of the existence of the relationship, thereby gaining all of the rights afforded to de facto couples under state and federal law without having to prove any further factual evidence of the relationship. In this way, a registered relationship is similar to a registered partnership or civil union in other parts of the world. The law came into effect on 1 July 2010.
The Relationships Register Bill 2010 was introduced to the NSW Legislative Assembly on 23 April 2010. The bill was approved by the NSW Legislative Assembly on a 62-9 vote on 11 May 2010, and then by the NSW Legislative Council (upper house) on a 32-5 vote on 12 May. The bill was assented on 19 May 2010. The law took effect on 1 July 2010.
 Adoption and family planning
Same-sex adoption has been legal since 15 September 2010, when the Adoption Amendment (Same Sex Couples) Act received royal assent and entered into force. In July 2009 the Law and Justice Committee of the New South Wales Parliament recommended that the Adoption Act should be amended to allow same-sex couples the right to adopt. Committee chair Christine Robertson said, "The committee has concluded that reform to allow same-sex couples to adopt will help to ensure that the best interests of children are met by our adoption laws." Initially, the Labor government refused to implement the recommendations, arguing that there was no broad community support for such legislation. However, in August 2010, independent MP and Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore introduced the Adoption Amendment (Same Sex Couples) Bill as a private member's bill. Both the NSW Premier Kristina Keneally and the Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell allowed a conscience vote on the bill. The bill was approved by the Legislative Assembly on 2 September 2010 in a 43-45 vote, and by the Legislative Council on 9 September 2010 in a 22-15 vote. The Act allows same-sex couples living in a de facto or registered relationship to adopt jointly, as well as to adopt their partner's children (step-child adoption).
All women (regardless if they are single, married or in a relationship with another person) are permitted access to IVF treatment in New South Wales under the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007. Medicare funding, however, requires the couple to be medically infertile, which makes it only available to heterosexual couples because of an assumption that the man is medically infertile. A lesbian couple would likely not have a medical condition that makes the couple infertile. The Artificial Conception Act 1984 (NSW) gave children conceived via artificial insemination the same status as children conceived naturally; in other words, the birth mother and her husband were deemed to be the legal parents. This was later repealed and updated with the Status of Children Act 1996 (NSW) which said the same thing, but accounted for a donated ova. The specific wording did not allow the birth mother's female partner to be legally recognised. The Miscellaneous Acts Amendment (Same Sex Relationships) Bill 2008 passed on 4 June 2008 recognises co-mothers as legal parents of children born through donor insemination and provides birth certificates allowing both mums to be recognised. Adoption and surrogacy reforms were not included. Male couples were excluded from most of the parenting-related legislation. There has been controversy with clause 17 in the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 that allows donors to nominate classes of people to whom their sperm or eggs may not be given, opening the way for discrimination against ethnic, religious and other minorities, including same-sex couples.
Prior to 2007, there were no laws in place to deal with surrogacy in the state. This changed with the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 which declared commercial surrogacy to be illegal and all surrogacy contracts to be void. The bill reiterated previous legislation, declaring that the birth mother and her husband are lawfully deemed to be the legal parents.
The Surrogacy Bill 2010 passed the NSW parliament on 11 November 2010 and the bill got royal assent on 16 November 2010. The law commenced on 1 March 2011. The surrogacy law only will recognise non-commercial surrogacy arrangements (the laws are also retrospective). Commercial surrogacy, advertising surrogacy arrangements and also going overseas to enter into a surrogacy arrangement is illegal under the Surrogacy Act 2010.
 See also
- LGBT rights in Australia
- Recognition of same-sex unions in Australia
- The Development Of Homosexuality
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- NSW to get relationship register
- NSW relationship register passed
- Massive support for register
- Relationships Register Bill 2010
- Register opens tomorrow
- NSW couples can register from today
- Adoption Amendment (Same Sex Couples) Bill 2010 (No 2)
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- Adoption by same sex couples (Inquiry), Parliament of New South Wales
- Gay Labor activists slam NSW adoption ruling, The Australian, 8 January 2010
- SAME SEX ADOPTION
- Same-sex adoption bill passes House, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 September 2010
- Same-sex adoption passes Legislative Assembly
- Same-sex adoption bill clears hurdle
- NSW Adoption Bill passes, SameSame, 9 September 2010
- Knife-edge for NSW adoption vote, SameSame, 9 September 2010
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- Surrogacy Bill 2010