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Children and same-sex parents to be protected by Ontario law


TORONTO — Ontario parents who conceive their children using assisted reproduction will get more legal rights as laws that require same-sex couples to adopt their own children are being updated.

The Liberal government is introducing the All Families Are Equal Act today, which would update a parentage law that hasn't been changed since 1978.

Some LGBTQ parents and others who are not biologically related to their children often need to go to court to be legally recognized as parents.

But the new legislation would ensure all couples who use assisted reproduction to conceive, including the use of a surrogate, are legally recognized as parents.

In an interview with AdvocateDaily.com, Ottawa family and litigation lawyer Timothy N. Sullivan says the proposed legislation is an example of how laws must continually adapt to protect children and parents.

"While it should be easier to name a bone fide parent to a child conceived outside of the more traditional manner, it cannot be a free-for-all," says Sullivan, principal of SullivanLaw. "Children need to have the protection and certainty of the law and parents need to have the moral and legal obligations of parenthood identified and respected."

He says there is a balancing of interests at play when two same-sex parents have a child because there may be a third party involved.

"Maybe having a full-fledged adoption of one’s own bona fide child is a bit much, but we need a lawful, efficient and effective system to validate those bona fides of parenthood. No one wants it left to the whimsical say-so or denial by one party," he says.

New Democrat Cheri DiNovo introduced a private member's bill last year to make birth registration services available to all LGBTQ families, saying it's not right that parents should have to adopt their own children.

She says her bill was modelled on legislation passed in British Columbia in 2014, and similar bills have been approved in Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec.

- With files from AdvocateDaily.com

© 2016 The Canadian Press


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