TV Documentary on Rainbow Families Highlights Need for Better Laws

A gay man using the pseudonym John Wilson tells his side of a tense Australian custody battle in this guest editorial. Wilson, his partner and a lesbian couple decided to co-parent a child together, but the womens' desires changed once the baby was on its way. Now they have cut off all contact between the men and the young boy.

Wilson was surprised to learn the courts can only recognize two parents. He is the biological father, but the Australian law sees him as simply a "donor." The child's mothers have been ruled his legal parents.

"While we have been able to apply for time and access with our son, the court deemed us non-parents. This means we are not able to make fundamental decisions about our child’s long-term well-being and development," he writes.

He continues by sharing in haunting detail how devastating the experience has been for him and his partner:

"We had a gentlemen’s agreement with these women to parent together. Prior to our son’s birth we were the envy of every single mother or father we knew. Now we do not see our son at all.

The grief is like an invisible caul that settles into your skin, a fine network of memories, anchored by a thousand moments, attached to your eyes, your heart, embedded in your skin. It settles into your body and adds another layer to life.

Our love for our son is irreducible, any mother or fathers’ love is. We remain our son’s legacy and his birthright is to know each of us. It is our hope that one day he will."

Wilson and his partner’s story is one of several featured in a recent episode of The Feed on SBS, which highlights the need for binding legal agreements when families enter into non-traditional family arrangements — and for laws to better recognize the realities of rainbow families.

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