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Ontario bill for queer parental rights gains support

Cy and Ruby’s Act passes second reading

Cy and Ruby’s Act would see queer parents gain the same rights afforded to heterosexual couples.  Credit: Portra/iStock/Thinkstock

A bill that would give equal recognition to Ontario queer parents passed second reading at Queen’s Park on Dec 10, 2015, with all party support.

Bill 137, named Cy and Ruby’s Act, would ensure that all lesbian couples having a child will both be recorded as parents on birth certificates, and would replace the terms “mother” and “father” with “parent” on birth registration forms.

The bill was introduced by NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, and has garnered the support of the Liberal government as well as the Progressive Conservative opposition.

DiNovo warned the legislature that if the bill is not passed soon, parents would instead try to find restitution in the courts.

“There will be many Charter challenges if this bill is not passed,” she said. “And by passed I don’t mean just second reading, but I mean passed into law.”

DiNovo said that she had met with Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur on Thursday, who expressed her support for the bill. Premier Kathleen Wynne is also in favour of the legislation.

Sophie Kiwala, the Liberal MPP for Kingston and the Islands, also said that she was in favour of the bill, but cautioned that some aspects may require further study.

“I want to emphasize that any law reform in this area would need to consider all of the potential scenarios that can arise when assisted reproduction is used including the use of surrogate mothers and multiple parents, while always promoting what is in the best interest of the children involved,” she said.

Tim Hudak, MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook and former leader of the Progressive Conservatives, also stated that he was fully in favour of the bill, but added one recommendation regarding gendered language.

“I understand that for a trans man [who] gives birth may not want to identify as mother, father, and use the term parent,” he said. But instead of replacing the terms “mother” and “father” with “parent,” Hudak suggested that “parent” be added as an option in addition to the gendered terms.

“I think that actually is inclusive and it include all options for the parents and how they identify themselves,” he said.

The bill will now move to the committee stage for further assessment.