A series of new bills to remove discrimination from South Australian laws passed the House of Assembly in State Parliament this week, giving LGBTIQ community members increased rights across a range of areas.

The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (Gender Identity) Amendment Bill 2016 makes it easier for South Australians to change the gender they are registered as on their birth certificate by removing the need to make an application to a Magistrate.

The Relationships Register Bill 2016 allows unmarried couples, same sex couples who are unmarried – and same-sex couples who married overseas – to have their relationships legally recognised in South Australia.

The Statutes Amendment (Surrogacy Eligibility) Bill ensures that a person can access reproductive treatment if they are unlikely to become pregnant other than through use of assisted reproductive technology. This Bill also amends the Family Relationships Act 1975 to extend access to lawful surrogacy agreements to non-heterosexual couples.

Same-sex couples will be given the right to adopt a child in South Australia under changes to the Adoption Act, which replaces the definition of ‘marriage relationship’ with ‘qualifying relationship’. This means couples in a marriage-like relationship, irrespective of sex or gender identity, can adopt.

These bills were passed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Background

The South Australian Law Reform (SARLI) review identified more than 140 pieces of South Australian legislation that discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and made a series of recommendations to address this.

These bills were based on this review as well as a report by the State Parliament’s Legislative Review Committee and are part of Premier Jay Weatherill’s moves to create a more tolerant and inclusive State.

The need for a Relationships Register was made clear by the death of British tourist David Bulmer-Rizzi, who died while honeymooning in Adelaide.

His marriage to Marco Bulmler-Rizzi was not recognised on his death certificate because, at the time, South Australian law did not recognise their marriage.

Marco travelled to Adelaide in September to watch Assistant Minister to the Premier Katrine Hildyard MP introduce the bill.

Quotes attributable to Premier Jay Weatherill

The State Government is committed to creating a more inclusive and tolerate South Australia – and the passing in the House of Assembly of these four bills are the first steps to making this a reality.

The removal of these historical legal barriers will help ensure that gender identities are respected, recognized, promoted and protected.

We will continue to act on the recommendations from the South Australian Law Reform Institute’s report to help ensure that discrimination is removed from our State laws.

Quotes attributable to Minister Assisting the Premier Katrine Hildyard

It was a privilege to usher reforms through our Parliament to progress equality for LGBTIQ South Australians.

It has been a long and intricate process to get this important work done, and I pay tribute to courageous and relentless community members for their advocacy and my parliamentary colleagues who supported this work.

True equality should always be at the forefront of legislators’ minds and hearts and I am proud that it was this week.