The Children and Families Relationship (CFR) Bill passed all stages in the Dáil last night and now moves on to be debated in the Seanad next Tuesday.
If passed, it will become law before the summer recess. This means that Parts 2 & 3 of the CFR Act should be commenced by October.
During last nights debate, Minister for Health, Simon Harris said:
“The Children and Families Relationship Act represents one of the most significant changes in family law in a generation and it attempts to better reflect the reality of contemporary family life here in this country.
“Parts 2 and 3 of the act, for which I am responsible, recognise the new reality of donor-assisted reproduction which recognises people using donor gametes and embryos.”
We reported last week that many circumstances including surrogacy will not be included in the CFR bill, Harris confirmed a more comprehensive bill is currently being drafted:
“Provisions relating to the regulation of surrogacy in Ireland are included in the General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017.
“The Assisted Human Reproduction Bill, which officials in my department are currently drafting will provide a comprehensive regulatory framework for assisted human reproduction which donor assisted human reproduction procedures is just a small part.”
Just introduced important legislation in Dáil so we can commence law that will recognise both females in a same sex couples as parents. Another step on the road to living in a more inclusive, equal country. Lots more to do! Assisted Human Reproduction Bill next big piece of work! pic.twitter.com/VFCqkyb3iz
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) July 11, 2018
Many LGBT+ Families Still Vulnerable
Many families were left behind in the CFR Bill and a demonstration was held outside Leinster House today to ask that no families are left behind.
— Gay Community News (@GCNmag) July 12, 2018
One of the demonstration organisers spoke to us about the unfairness and the need to protect children should be a priority:
“Looking for retrospective rights, surrogates are very concerned that when the AHR Bill is brought in, it is not going to cover families retrospectively, which is very unfair.
“They wouldn’t anticipate what law was going to be introduced next year. In the interest of protecting their children, there needs to be an amnesty for surrogates.
“This isn’t an issue that just affects LGBT+ couples, straight couples use surrogacy too and its the children we need to protect in this case, regardless of what laws will be brought in.”
With many LGBT+ families still vulnerable and unprotected by legislation, we spoke to members of the community who kindly shared their experiences.
“The AHR Bill does not affect my family, but I feel as LGBTQ families we need to all stand shoulder to shoulder, because as a country in 2018, three years after the marriage referendum was passed, it’s just not good enough that our kids are vulnerable.”
Ludovico attended today’s demonstration to bring awareness to the current inequality in the Adoptive Leave Act.
The CFR Act also does not cover many same-sex female couples. Steffi tells us that her daughter Ava is not covered under the CFR Act as they could not use a fertility clinic because of a pre-existing medical condition that would have made fertility treatments unsuitable.
We’re a same-sex couple, we’ve been together for 23 years, we’re married and we have two four-year-old twins.
My husband has a guardianship order since 2015 but we’re left in a very vulnerable position where the surrogate is still on the birth certificate.
“She wants to be off it herself because the children have legal rights to her estate.
“We’re in a bad situation because if something bad was to happen to me, who would be the parents of my children?
“The CHR Bill doesn’t cover enough, it expects my husband to adopt his children. I think he should be seen as the father and be given the same rights and his name on the birth cert.
“It’s three years since the marriage equality, we’re here with two kids four and a half years of age looking for rights so my husband can be recognised as our children’s father.”
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.