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Smith: Lesbian 'dads' on way out

Media Statement For immediate release Wednesday, 27 August, 2003

Smith: Lesbian 'dads' on way out

Lesbian 'dads' will be gone from the Care of Children Bill after much lobbying from United Future, MP Murray Smith said today.

In Parliament today, Mr Smith questioned Associate Justice Minister Lianne Dalziel, who confirmed that clause 17(2) allowing a same-sex de facto partner of a mother to be called the "father of a child" would either be redrafted or dropped.

"It's a huge victory for common sense, and it will resound around the country because New Zealanders don't want a bar of the politically correct social engineering that that clause represented," Mr Smith said.

'Dads are dads and it's going to stay that way. United Future has been pushing for that from the day this bill was launched," he said.

Mr Smith also sought and gained a commitment from the Government that it would now back a change to the bill specifically recognising that the best interests of a child are served, in most cases, by regular, on-going contact with both parents.

"That should be stated quite explicitly. No beating around the bush.

"We're absolutely delighted that we've now convinced the Government that this should be directly stated.

"Children do best with two parents in their lives, and that should not be downplayed simply because some situations do not fit that," he said.

United Future opposed the bill at the first reading because of its deficiencies, but was encouraged by the changes signalled today after considerable behind-the-scenes lobbying by the party.

"We remain open to the possibility of backing a hugely improved bill - but significant changes still have to be made," Mr Smith said. "This is key legislation. It's got to be right, for the sake of the country's children."

Ends.

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