It has been six years since the Irish Cabinet approved the Children and Family Relationships Bill – which at the time Taoiseach Enda Kenny described as “the most important change in family legislation since the foundation of the State.” But what has actually changed for LGBTQ+ families since the CFRA was passed, and what still needs to be done?
In 2015, Labour TD, John Lyons described, “The Children and Family Relationship Bill, when enacted, will ensure Family Law in Ireland will reflect the modern society we live in.
“There are many types of family units and for far too long Irish Family Law has simply airbrushed families, other than the ‘traditional’ family, out of existence. This has resulted in many parents and their children being nothing more than second-class citizens.
“This Bill will address the needs of children living in diverse family settings. It will provide access to parentage, guardianship, custody and access to a range of family situations that are not currently recognised in our laws.”
However, in 2020 it was revealed that while some families may have received legal recognition from the long awaited enactment of parts Two and Three of the Child and Family Relationships Act, many LGBTQ+ families were still left in limbo.
Ranae von Meding, the CEO of Equality For Children – a campaign organised to fight for the rights of children of LGBTQ+ parents in Ireland – shared her concerns on the long way still left to go.
“Today marks six years since the Irish Cabinet approved the Children And Family Relationships Bill. While the CFRA was passed in 2015, ahead of the marriage referendum, it actually took five years before some of those provisions actually came into effect. As of May 2020, certain same-sex couples have been able to re-register their children so that both parents can finally have a legal relationship with their children and benefit from all the protections that brings.
“While there have certainly been huge steps forward to ensure equality for children of LGBTQ+ families, we still have a long way to go until we can say we live in an equal Ireland. At present, any children who are conceived through surrogacy, through non-clinical methods (home insemination), with a known donor or through clinics outside of the state are only allowed a legal relationship to one of their parents. The one who is deemed to be their biological and/or birth parent.
“Equality for Children will not stop until we have achieved equality for all children regardless of the method of their conception or location of their birth. No one is equal until we all are.”
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