28 Jun 2012

Queensland, Australia‎ reverses same-sex civil union rights

Queensland's Liberal National Party government have not only voted to downgrade civil partnerships to “registered relationships”; same-sex couples and singles will also be denied the right to have a child by surrogacy under plans flagged by the state government.

Last week,  the conservative Liberal National Party party, which took control of the Queensland Parliament from the Labor Party after winning the state elections in March, voted to extensively alter the provisions of the Civil Partnerships Act 2011 which took effect in February.

According to local reports, conservative lawmakers voted to redefine civil partnerships, downgrading them to the lesser class of “registered relationships”. The change will revoke same-sex couples’ ability to surrogate children as well as remove the option of a state sanctioned official ceremony so that “(registered partnership licensing) bears less resemblance to marriage.”

According to the Gay News Network, Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie renewed the debate on the Surrogacy Act last week and it has since been suggested that a three year jail term be introduced for couples who seek to become parents through altruistic surrogacy arrangements.

The Queensland Surrogacy Act, which was passed into law two years ago in 2010, allowed same-sex couples, unmarried domestic couples to have children, provided that the surrogates were not paid.

“In this debate and in the correspondence that the government received with regard to this debate there was much talk about mixing these issues with surrogacy. I can also advise the House tonight that the government will be changing the surrogacy laws in the future,” Bleijie said. 

“We will be introducing amendments similar to those introduced by the honourable member for Southern Downs when he was the shadow minister. We will be repealing the provisions in the Surrogacy Act that deal with same-sex couples, de factos [heterosexual couples]has quoted civil libertarians as saying that the Queensland premier's moves were to satisfy right-wing elements of his party as he had earlier said in a pre-election statement that he would not be changing surrogacy laws. of less than two years and singles.

Liberal National Party Leader Campbell Newman, whose party now controls 78 of the 89 seats in the Parliament, said that Thursday’s actions to amend Queensland’s civil partnerships system actually showed that his party was “prepared to reach a sensible compromise that retains rights.”


The "Rip & Roll" safe sex campaign posters which feature a real-life gay male couple in an embrace will be reinstated across Brisbane bus shelters after it became clear the complaints were part of a concerted campaign by the Australian Christian Lobby.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) quoted civil libertarians as saying that the Queensland premier's moves to strip surrogacy rights from gay couples to satisfy right-wing elements of his party as the premier had himself said in pre-election statement that he would not be changing surrogacy laws.


Last month, the Newman government withdrew A$2.5 million in funding to the Queensland Association of Healthy Communities, the state’s only health organisation dedicated to the prevention of AIDS/HIV among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Last year, Healthy Communities last made headlines for its controversial "Rip n Roll" safe sex advertising campaign, which drew the ire of the Australian Christian Lobby.