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Lesbian Couples Race to Change Law, Appear on Birth Certificate

lesbian couple

Current Gibraltar law recognizes only the mother carrying the child as a parent.

A lesbian couple in Gibraltar are trying to change the law in time to allow both to appear as parents on the birth certificate of their first child expected later this month. The parents, Natalie and Katie Perez-Muldoon, have been in an official partnership since 2014 but Gibraltar law will only allow Natalie's name on the certificate, since she is carrying the couple's child. The couple told the Gibraltar Chronicle they are hopeful the proposed Surrogacy Bill, which will make the necessary changes to existing law, will be passed in time for the birth of their child.

"As a Lesbian married couple, we jointly and lovingly embarked on the IVF process to grow our family," the couple posted to Facebook. "It is absolutely heartbreaking the thought that our family is not afforded the same legal standing as heterosexual families here in Gibraltar."

The couple wrote the government was aware of their situation and "recognizes this wrong needs to be put right," but noted their legislature has had a draft of the bill for 18 months. As far as they are concerned, "it can't be allowed to be put on the back burner for any longer. Put it to Parliament!"

Gibraltar is a self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. The governing law was changed in the U.K. 12 years ago, but Gibraltar never made the changes to their local laws. The Perez-Muldoons told the Gibraltar Chronicle they have asked the government for a "reasonable" timeline for passage of the Surrogacy Bill, as well as a retroactive application in their case.

"With these two commitments, that gives us the peace of mind that we require in order to not take any further steps," Ms Perez-Muldoon said. Without these changes, she said, she'd have no parental rights over their child.

"In fact, I would not be registered anywhere as a parent for the care of my child so this means that in the event that Natalie was taken ill and incapacitated, the decision-making process would not fall to me, it would fall to her parents, and my parenting rights are non-existent."

RELATED | Lesbian Moms Adopt Three Brothers to Keep Family Together

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