The upcoming planned amendments to the Children And Families Act could have a huge impact on the hopes of a gay couple currently living in Canada trying to get an Irish passport for their child.
In an interview with The Independent, Jay O’Callaghan and his husband Aaron O’Bryan have struggled so much with the red tape children of same-sex parents face on this issue that Jay says he feels “let down by Ireland”.
While they married in Ireland, the couple emigrated to Canada and had their son through surrogacy. Canadian Law allows both fathers to be named on the birth cert and their son has a Canadian passport, however, as Jay said, “I wanted an Irish passport for my son, he has two Irish parents after all. We didn’t hear anything for six months after multiple emails and phone calls. In the end I wrote them a letter, and six months later I got a call.”
It was not the news the couple wished to hear. He continued, “They asked who the biological father was, and I asked why that was relevant. They told me it would be relevant under Irish Family Law, and I was shocked to discover that our surrogate and her husband could be considered the legal parents of our son at home, even though neither of them has a biological connection to him.”
Jay says the couple would have to present the results of their baby’s DNA test to an Irish court in order to prove who the biological father is. “The issue then comes up with the other parent. Say for example I am the biological father – my husband would have zero rights at home. Currently, the only way around that is to apply for guardianship. My husband was mortified when he heard this.
“It’s not just about a passport, it’s about the legal aspect of our child, which the state doesn’t seem to recognise. I felt so let down by the country, a country that I love dearly. How can we ever consider moving back to Ireland when they’re turning their backs on same sex couples?”
An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced recently that Minister for Health Simon Harris aims to have the Children And Families act amended by the summer recess. This would allow same-sex couples to have both their names on their children’s birth certificates – a move that would help in cases like Jay and Aaron’s.
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