The Civil Registration Bill has passed the final stages through the Dáil and Seanad yesterday, May 15, and will soon be presented to the President for signing.
The inclusion of both partners as parents on birth certificates will assist in affirming their parental rights on day-to-day matters, and help to confirm the value and integrity of same-sex parents within a legal framework.
Approved in January, the bill will also assist help to support easier access to passports for children, school enrolment, medical services, and other situations where the demonstration of a parental relationship may be required.
Upon enactment, the bill will facilitate the commencement of existing legislation that allows for the registration of children of some donor-assisted births. Currently, this new law will only allow a percentage of female same-sex partnerships to register as parents to [a] child[ren] in their care and leaves men and non-binary parents out of the equation.
As Mother of two Ranae Von Meding explains: “The only couples it will apply to, are female couples who have conceived in an Irish Fertility clinic using an identifiable donor. Everyone else is left out. So those who have gone abroad, those who have used an anonymous or a known donor, those who have done an at home insemination and those who have done Reciprocal IVF like us. All male same-sex couples are left out completely.”
The Civil Registration Bill will also make it no longer necessary for a mother to contact an estranged husband when establishing paternity of a child with a new partner.
The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, has expressed the importance of living in a country where the ‘legislative framework’ reflects the ‘evolving family composition’, stating:
“I am pleased that we have taken a very significant step forward in recognising the diverse range of family formation that we have in Ireland today.
“We need to work now to have this legislation, and all of the other relevant legislation, commenced as quickly as possible to enable registrations and re-registrations of births. I look forward to the day, soon, when same-sex female couples are able to register the birth of their children, in a way that reflects the formation of their families as lived in their daily lives.”
The new bill represents the slow progress of the movement for LGBT+ rights in Irish society; while a number of families with same-sex female parents will be recognised and protected by law, we continue to require legislation which respects the parental rights of all same-sex parents.
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