A bill signed off by the cabinet yesterday and due to be brought to the Dáil in the coming weeks may suggest that lesbian parents will soon receive the same rights as their straight counterparts, but the reality for many remains different.
Campaigners have long stressed their problems with the proposed changes to the Children and Families Relationship Act. As it stands currently, the bill provides no legal recognition to LGBT+ families, but even though some improvements may be forthcoming, serious issues will still stand for families led by gay fathers and same-sex couples who received IVF treatment abroad.
At a recent demonstration outside Leinster House, Paula Fagan of LGBT Ireland told GCN: “This is a children’s rights issue. Children in LGBT families don’t have the right or the legal recognition of their primary caregivers, which has serious implications for them. That can be incomprehensible to children because they know who loves them, who takes care of them and who their parents are, so the law needs to catch up with that.”
Ranae von Meding, her wife Audrey and their two daughters (aged two and aged six weeks) are one of those families affected. They will not be covered under the proposed legislation simply because they travelled abroad for IVF. They did Reciprocal IVF, using Audrey’s eggs and Ranae carried the babies.
Ranae told GCN, “We are so disheartened by the lack of care that the government has for our family and so many like us. As it currently stands I am viewed as a single parent despite the fact I’m married under the Irish constitution and despite the fact that our two children are biologically my wife’s.
“For them to say that some same sex families are legitimate but others are not, is a disgrace. It puts our kids at even a worse disadvantage than they are already at.
“The reason my wife will not be able to be registered as a parent to our children, is because we used her eggs in order to conceive. So because they are biologically her children, it means she isn’t allowed to be registered. The irony is, that if we had used a random egg donor and neither of us had any biological connection to our kids, then she would be able to be registered. It’s absolute madness. Who came up with that? And it’s blatant discrimination.”
Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty stated she was “delighted to be able to move the matter forward quickly” but families with same-sex parents have now been waiting four years for those proposed changes, and despite reports to the contrary, many will have a much longer wait.
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