A lesbian couple are celebrating a Queensland first, after the Supreme Court ordered the removal of their children’s father’s name from the birth certificates.
The couple originally sought a sperm donor on a gay community website in order to become parents. The children were conceived through artificial insemination prior to Surrogacy Act 2010, resulting in the female de facto partner not being recognised as a parent.
At the time of the children’s birth the mother faced losing social security benefits if classed as a single parent, so she listed the sperm donor as father on both birth certificates.
According to the couple, when approached the donor indicated that he was happy to put his DNA into the world but showed no interest in being a parent to the children.
Although Queensland laws were changed in 2010 retrospectively, to allow homosexual couples to be recorded on birth certificates as mother and parent, the donor opposed the ruling and did not consent to being removed from the children’s birth certificates.
In her ruling, Justice Ann Lyons acknowledged that although there were no other Queensland cases that dealt with similar situations, she found the women, who share a last name and had been in a 20 year relationship, were entitled to both be listed as legal parents.
In her written judgement, Justice Lyons said the register would now accurately reflect the correct parents for the children and the true nature of the relationship between the couple.
Justice Lyons acknowledged the changes to the law in 2010 were designed to cover children of de facto same sex couples and ordered that the father’s name be removed from the public record.
The donor father has since applied to the Federal Circuit Court seeking to spend time with the children.