By Hilary White

BRISBANE, August 18, 2009 ( – Christians in Queensland are working to lobby MPs to vote down a provision that would allow homosexuals to use “surrogate” mothers to acquire children. The premier of the state of Queensland has announced planned legislation that would allow same-sex partners to adopt children through “altruistic surrogacy,” in which the birth mother's expenses could be met by the adoptive party but no other payments made.

The proposal would also amend the Status of Children Act 1978 to provide that where two women decide to have a child together, both mothers are legally recognised as the child's parents and both are listed on the child's birth certificate.

Premier Anna Bligh, one of two vice-presidents of the Australian Labour Party, indicated that, “The core issue is that female same-sex couples may become parents without a surrogate – through artificial insemination or IVF – and it is important to also give these children legal certainty.”

“All Queenslanders, including same-sex couples, will be able engage in surrogacy arrangements and to be legally recognised as the parents on the child's birth certificate.” Potential adoptive parents will be able to apply to the courts to transfer the legal parentage of a child from the birth parents to themselves.

“We are taking these steps because we believe that everyone – no matter their sexual status or their gender – should be afforded the privilege of parenthood.”

She admitted that the proposal may present some with a “moral dilemma” but urged such people to put aside their objections and focus on the needs of children.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick said that the decision had been made on the basis of the best interests of children. “We want each child to enjoy the same status and legal protection, irrespective of the circumstances of birth or the status of his or her parents,” he said. Commercial surrogacy will continue to be illegal as will advertising for surrogacy births.

But opponents say that it is precisely the interests of children that are being threatened by a proposal that will turn children into commodities to fulfil the desires of adults. The Australian Christian Lobby has vowed to lobby heavily against the measure.

Director Peter Earle said, “In the interests of children, we urge them to stick by these commitments, and we urge Labour … politicians to look to their consciences and follow suit.”

Conservative politicians have also vowed to defeat the new law in a conscience vote. Liberal National Party leader John-Paul Langbroek called on Bligh to separate the legalisation of altruistic surrogacy from extending access to homosexuals. “I am confident that in its current form, this will be defeated along conscience lines,” Langbroek said.

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