A married couple has been left “devastated” after being told they can not register their daughter’s birth due to “issues” surrounding her conception.
Níle O’Hagan, 34 and wife Leanne Byrne have not been able to register the birth of 5 weeks old Willa because of confusion over the rights of same-sex couples at register offices.
Ms O’Hagan said that growing up and being attracted to women, she never thought having children would be a possibility for her.
“But after the marriage equality referendum, it started to seem like it was going to be possible,” she said. “I thought that was the point of the referendum, that we would be treated the same as everybody else.”
The couple made the decision to try for a baby shortly after they got married and were successful after their first attempt with the assistances of a sperm bank.
They discovered in February that Ms Byrne would have to wait to register Ms Byrne on the baby’s birth certificate despite the Children and Family Relationships Act being passed three years ago.
“Leanne is devastated, there’s no other word for it,” Ms O’Hagan said. Leanne is worried about not having any legal rights to their baby should anything happen to Níle.
This week the couple discovered that they may not be able to register their daughter at all. The registrar’s office asked for documentation to prove that the couple could be registered.
“We were so, so happy when she was born and it feels like this is taking something from it,” Ms O’Hagan said.
Simon Harris Must Take Immediate Action On Equal Parental Status
In April, Sinn Féin spokesperson for LGBTQI Rights, Senator Fintan Warfield has criticised Minister for Health Simon Harris TD for failing to commence key equal status legislation granting equal parental rights to families who conceive through assisted human reproduction, three years on from its passage through the Oireachtas.
Senator Warfield said:
“Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 give equal parental rights to families who conceive through assisted human reproduction.
“Three years on from the passing of civil marriage equality, it is unacceptable that these aspects of the legislation have yet to be commenced by Government. In many cases, Government are leaving only one parent with legal rights.
“Same-sex families are therefore vulnerable, as the parent without legal rights cannot give medical consent, nor are they recognised as a parent on the birth certificate of their child.
“They cannot give citizenship rights to their child, along with an array of other potential issues.
He sent Simon Harris a letter in which he criticises the lack of action on commencing the amendments to the Act saying that “the delay has left numerous families in ‘legal limbo”.
He has asked for a meeting with Harris and his department officials and some of the parents concerned “as a matter of urgency” in order that the situation may be fully explained.
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