Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Israel Folau committed high level breach of players code of conduct

The ABC is reporting that Israel Folau has been found to have committed a high level breach of the players code of conduct. Punishment is yet to be decided.

I am deeply saddened that a player of his extraordinary abilities thought that in accordance with his religious views, it was OK to say that homosexuals deserved to go to hell. Having been the subject of homophobic abuse and glares, the pain that these comments make is terrible.

For your information Israel Folau, my husband and I celebrated our marriage in the eyes of God. How does that stack up with the idea we too are going to hell?

To be paid lots and lots of money to kick a ball in the public eye brings with it responsibility- including to gay kids who want to play rugby. His words to those who aren't gay give encouragement to bully and torment those who they think are gay.

Some kids will kill themselves because of this torrent of ongoing abuse. Having a player in as senior position as Folau using the weight of his position to attack gays- in the guise of his religious beliefs- is disgusting.

Having known a number of the players of the Brisbane gay rugby team, the Hustlers- they love the game. Rugby is the passion of their life. What would it have said about the game if sports officials could not protect them?

I am glad that rugby league administrators also have said that they don't want Folau back. Good.

Folau has been seen crying over the impact that his words have had- on him. One day I hope he might have the insight as to the impact that his words have had on others. That day seems many years away. When that day comes, he might remember the golden rule of the Bible- which is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That basic rule- of the love of other members of humanity- and the humility that comes from that- seems to have been forgotten by his hatred of those who have a different sexuality to his.

High Court considers: is the gay guy dad, or just the lesbian mum?

The extraordinary tale of Masson and Parsons was heard before the High Court just before Easter- to work out whether Mr Masson is a parent. Judgment has been reserved. It is likely to be some months before we know an outcome.

Trial judge says that Mr Masson is a parent

Mr Masson was in court against the birth mother, the first Ms Parsons, and her wife, the second Ms Parsons. Mr Masson is a gay man who wanted to be a dad. He entered into a co-parenting agreement with the first Ms Parsons. He supplied a quantity of his sperm to Ms Parsons- with the result that following an at home insemination, she conceived and then gave birth to a child.

The trial judge found that Mr Masson was a parent under the Family Law Act due to:

  • his intending to be parent
  • he being genetically the parent
  • his being engaged in parenting of the child.
Both Ms Parsons were not happy with that outcome and appealed.

The Full Court said he is not a parent

The three judges of the Full Court of the Family  Court upheld the appeal. The approach taken by the trial judge to say that Mr Masson was a parent was "constitutional heresy". Because the Family Law Act did not specifically provide for someone like Mr Masson as a parent, then the requirement was to go back to State legislation- in this case the NSW Status of Children Act to determine whether or not Mr Masson was a parent. As the NSW Act did not provide for Mr Masson to be a parent, therefore he was not a parent, irrespective of:

  • his intending to be a parent
  • he being genetically a parent
  • his being engaged in parenting of the child.
Mr Masson appeals to the High Court

Mr Masson was unhappy with that outcome, and appealed. An appeal to the High Court is not as of right, and instead needs leave of the court first. Leave is only granted rarely. Mr Masson obtained special leave from Chief Justice Kiefel in December.

When the matter came before the Full Bench before Easter:

  • Mr Masson, the independent children's lawyer and the Commonwealth argued that the Full Court had got it wrong, and that Mr Masson was a  parent- because the category of who was a parent under that Act was not fixed, and therefore that Act overrode the NSW Act under the Commonwealth Constitution.
  • The two Ms Parsons and the State of Victoria argued that the Full Court got it right, because they said there is a consistent scheme between the Commonwealth, the States and Territories about who is and who is not a parent- and Mr Masson therefore is not a parent.

We wait and see what approach the High Court takes. If the High Court decides that Mr Masson is a parent, then it is likely it will do so on the basis invited by the Commonwealth- namely every case needs to be decided on its own facts about whether someone is or is not a parent.

The three pronged test is commonly used in the US to determine parentage of children conceived through assisted reproductive treatment- the most significant element being whether or not someone intended to be a parent. If they did not intend to be a parent then whether they are genetically a parent does not make them so. By contrast, just because someone is not genetically  parent but intended to be a parent, then they may be found to be a parent.

We are living in the ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times."

Rainbow Families Qld: Making Rainbow Babies

Rainbow Families Queensland is hosting for the first time Making Rainbow Babies- all wanna be parents want to know about how to conceive and raise children:

  • IVF
  • artificial insemination
  • surrogacy
  • use of egg and sperm donors
  • legal issues
  • listening to children in rainbow families.
I will be a speaker on the day. I am looking forward to it- and looking forward to everyone who turns up.

The event is on 25 May in Brisbane. The details are here or through the Rainbow Families Queensland Facebook page.

I hope you can join me.