Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast looks at gay rights and fatherhood options in Australia. We talked with Equality Australia founder and gay dad Tom Snow to get a taste of what it’s like being a gay dad in Australia, and researched options for gay men who want to become dads.
Gay dad Tom Snow was a key person in Australia's Marriage Equality campaign. Though the Australian campaign was fueled by the success in Ireland and in the United States, in the interview on our podcast Tom explained the key difference between Australia and those countries.
"In Ireland the biggest message around marriage equality was about equality," Snow explained. "In the U.S. there were a few things that were use but freedom was a big one, equality and rights were also big in the states. But when we message-tested those in Australia, the biggest thing that Australians get is fairness. And what we realized is that people just saw it as not fair that same sex couples were not able to get married. They could see the unfairness of it, and they were like 'that's not decent' that there's a group of people that are not treated the same."
Winning marriage was important for the country, however, Snow told Daddy Squared it wasn't quite important for parenting, as gay men could have kids, even before marriage, in a few different ways. "Surrogacy, adoption and co-parenting are probably the big three," he says, "historically many gay men and lesbian women did it through co-parenting. The good news in Australia is that adoption is reasonably equal in the law, in that case it's reasonably equal for gays and lesbians. We do have some issues that some of the adoption agencies that are religious-based, discriminate against our community and continue to do so."
"Surrogacy is harder for gay men in Australia, there might be a family friend or a family member who might carry a baby for a gay male couple. That's difficult [to find a surrogate] so many gay men do go overseas."
A dad of a twin 10-year-olds and a 6-year-old through surrogacy, Snow shared his own story of parenthood. "Never is everything under control," he laughs, "but it's the most fun experience, every day is just a riot of fun. I say this to everyone looking at being a parent, it's a lot harder than I ever expected it to be, but it's also a lot better than I ever expected it to be. It is a complete change in your life."
Adoption for Gay Dads in Australia
Currently in Australia, laws around adoption and fostering by LGBT people differ by state/territory. The first step for prospective parents is to research which type of adoption or permanent care is possible in your state or territory.
There are three types of adoption in Australia: domestic adoption (local and from out of home care), inter-country adoption, or permanent care and foster care. Helpful information about adoption in general and by-state in Australia can be found on adoptchange.org.au
It's important to state that religious-based foster care agencies may appeal to legal provisions allowing them to refuse to assess LGBT applicants.
Full information sheet on adoption and foster care in Australia by Australian Psychology Society (APS) can be found here.
Surrogacy for Gay Dads in Australia
Surrogacy in Australia is based on state-by-state laws. Western Australia, for example, only allows single women and heterosexual couples to engage in surrogacy.