Parenting News

Kiwi lesbian couple allowed to be listed as mother and mother on their child's birth certificate

This opens the door for other same-sex couples to do the same.

In what's believed to be a first for New Zealand, a lesbian couple from Nelson has been granted the right to be named 'mother' and 'mother' on their child's birth certificate.

When the parents, known as Jess and Stacy, requested this after the birth of their child they were initially refused by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), who deemed they could only refer to one of the two as 'mother', and the other as 'other parent' on their baby's birth certificate.

A complaint was made to the Human Rights Commission late last year, which raised the issue with the department.

Lawyer Stewart Dalley from Auckland, who represented the couple in their bid to change the wording, told Stuff, "For some people, 'other parent' just carries a sort of lesser standing.

"It seems a more derogatory term, a 'you're the other parent, they're the real parent' sort of situation."

The child had been conceived using artificial reproductive technology (ART).

The groundbreaking move paves the way for other same-sex parents to request to have their children's birth certificates amended, and potentially transgender parents too.

Dalley told Stuff, "The way society is progressing, I think the other change that's been noted is that irrespective of how a child is conceived in the future, the parents of any description will be able to select either mother, father, or parent..."

Dalley said it had been a good process with the Department.

"It could easily have been that the Department of Internal Affairs dug its heels in and then we would have had to have made a complaint to the Human Rights Review Tribunal..." He said the result had been achieved "through a willingness and an understanding".

While this was a win for the LGBT community, not all government departments have delivered such heartening outcomes. Statistics New Zealand made the decision to leave questions over sexual orientation or gender identity - other than providing a two-category gender question - out of the 2018 census.

Social activist Aych McArdle, who uses gender neutral pronouns, told RadioLIVE the community was "absolutely flabbergasted" by the decision.

"If you don't count someone, you're almost saying they don't count," they say.