In March next year there will be an historic meeting in Brisbane of the LGBT Family Law Institute. The Institute is a group of credentialled family lawyers, based in the US, who have acted in and support LGBT clients and issues. It is ultimately affiliated with the American Bar Association.
It is hoped that family lawyers from across Australia, south-east Asia, New Zealand and the US will be attending. They will be able to discuss current family law issues, including marriage, adoption, surrogacy, who is a parent, and how the Family Law Courts deal with matters where one or both of the parents is LGBT.
In May I attended the first regional meeting of the Institute outside the US- in London. The London meeting has led to the first grouping of LGBT family lawyers in the UK, an amazing achievement. This step alone will help achieve equality there. I was then given the job, by the Institute’s founder and guru, Bill Singer, a family and surrogacy lawyer from New Jersey, to replicate the success in the UK with a meeting in Australia.
The meeting will take place on 12 and 13 March, the weekend after Mardi Gras, and just in time for Big Gay Day. Shine Lawyers will be generously providing sponsorship, allowing the meeting to take place.
Amongst attendees will be lawyers from the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The NCLR has been at the forefront of the fight for equality in the US, including providing submissions as friend of the court in many of the equal marriage cases across the US.