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"My mum has no longer been erased"

Fri 11 Apr 2014 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

The Sullivan-Shields family Rowen Sullivan says she's very excited to be getting a birth certificate with both her mums on it, and feels lucky to live in a country where the change was possible. A bill which specially created for the Wellington woman leapt over its final hurdle in Parliament on Wednesday night. “It feels like a weight has been taken off my shoulders and I'm getting some kind of closure after an emotional journey. My mum has no longer been erased! I've said all along that this has been about honouring my mum Diane,” Sullivan tells Daily News. “I'm so grateful to have had the chance to change the law and that Parliament took the time to think about something that only applied to me. It doesn't just affect me though - it also affects my family and has made them really happy too. I feel so lucky to live in a country where it is possible to do something like this.” Sullivan’s unique situation came to light during the marriage equality debate, when it was revealed that when one of Rowen Sullivan's mothers, Diane Sullivan, fell ill from terminal lung cancer, her other mother, Doreen Shields was not given the option to jointly adopt her, because Rowen was an IVF baby born before a 2005 law change. Shields become Rowen's guardian instead, and adopted her after Diane's death. The result is that only one of Sullivan's mothers was listed on her birth certificate. Marriage equality champion Louisa Wall stepped in to right the anomaly with a rare private bill, which sailed through Parliament. “I really want to thank Louisa Wall for her dedication in making this happen,” Sullivan says. “I know that she wasn't just doing a job, I could really feel the love and integrity and that it really meant something to her. Love is the important thing and I think people have seen that.” Sullivan now just needs to wait for the bill to get Royal Assent, which should happen by Monday. “The day after that it becomes law. Internal Affairs have already been in touch to make sure they have all the right details about my mum so I should get the certificate very soon.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Friday, 11th April 2014 - 11:13am

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