Wednesday, 24 September 2014

What an extraordinary morning- acceptance to both IAML and AAARTA!

Some morning its pays to wake up! This morning was one of those mornings. When I went through my emails this morning I came across two extraordinary emails. This morning I have been accepted into membership of both the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the most prestigious grouping of family lawyers internationally, and as the first international fellow of the American Academy of Assisted reproductive Treatment Attorneys, AAARTA.

If there is any doubt whatever, I have been recognised by my peers here and overseas, after extremely thorough vetting processes,  as having the necessary expertise in family law and surrogacy matters.

What an extraordinary day!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Surrogacy debate in Brisbane on Wednesday night

A free debate will be held in Brisbane on Wednesday night about surrogacy. The event, called Politics in the Pub: Making Babies: The Business of Birth will be hosted by New Farm Neighbourhood Centre in the Turbine Room at Brisbane Powerhouse. Speakers include Professor Anusch Yazdani from Queensland Fertility Group, two family lawyers and two speakers from adoptions groups.

I'll be going- but not as a speaker. It looks as though it will be a good night. I've spoken at two previous Politics in the Pub events- both about gay marriage. They were lively, engaging events.

For more information about the event, click here

Sunday, 14 September 2014

DIGS launch

Last Sunday I was honoured to be a guest speaker, alongside the Member for Brisbane Central Rob Cavallucci and Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Brisbane Rachel Jacobs at the launch of a new community organisation, DIGS. DIGS stands for Diversity in Gender and Sexuality, and is named that way to avoid the alphabet soup that we have seen for so long with LGBTIQ. It is an organisation intended to be non-partisan, and to campaign for equality for LGBTIQ people.

When I spoke, I said how I had helped the then Queensland Association for Gay and Lesbian Law Reform (QAGLR) in drafting, advice and training and that in 1990 it didn't look like there would be much law reform happening. Then one day there was but a glimmer- an industrial award which recognised a same sex relationship. Then followed the flood- 1992 changes in Queensland when almost all State based discriminatory laws went. Similar changes happened Federally in 2008/2009.

Unfortunately, true equality is still not there. There are still laws that discriminate against those in LGBTIQ relationships- the most prominent one of which was that of marriage.

Both Rob Cavallucci and Rachel Jacobs spoke passionately. Cavallucci spoke about how in Italian heritage he had been to many big weddings, and that it was just plain wrong not to allow people to marry, based on their sexuality and gender. Jacobs said that it was a sign of our society that our laws are such that they do not allow same sex couples to marry- one of the most fundamental rights that we take for granted.

Probably the most surprising speaker was an impromptu speaker, Jenner Cram. Cram is a civil celebrant. She said that there had been a fundamental shift in society as to  the attitude of gay marriage, and that politicians as a general rule were out of touch. Fully two thirds of those heterosexual couples seeking her services to get married take objection to the required words of the Marriage Act being said- namely the union of one man and one woman- and raise it with her first! And the reason for their objection- because gay and lesbian people cannot marry. As they say to Jennifer- why should the law be unfair?