LGBT Ireland Meet With Oireachtas To Push For Same-Sex Parents Rights

This morning, a number of representatives from the advocacy group appeared before the Health Committee to discuss the ways in which current legislation impacts same-sex parents.

Paula Fagan at the Oireachtas

Representatives from LGBT Ireland appeared before the Oireachtas today to call for the increased legal recognition of families headed by same-sex parents.

Particularly, the group attended the council in order to address the General Scheme of the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill 2017.

Representatives from the Iona Institute were also invited to the hearing, though they did not attend. The conservative group – who have previously campaigned against marriage equality – recently attended the Oireachtas to discuss the same issue.

Today’s meeting saw LGBT Ireland’s chief executive Paula Fagan comment on the way in which the Bill impacts on donor-conceived children of same-sex parents, particularly in terms of medical consent and obtaining legal documents, such as passports.

Fagan, who was joined at the hearing by Dr Lydia Bracken, the organisation’s legal advisor, spoke about how the lack of legal recognition causes “considerable stress and uncertainty” to same-sex families.

Fagan said:

“Several families we spoke to have children with serious health conditions that require ongoing medical attention, for these parents the stress caused by the lack of legal rights puts a huge additional strain on them.

“This is particularly so when medical consent is required, and when obtaining legal documents such as passports, but it also arises in everyday situations, like for example providing consent for school trips.”

She continued:

“While we acknowledge this is a complex piece of legislation and support the thorough consideration of all issues involved, we ask that you progress your deliberations urgently.”

The group’s Chief Executive also commented on the inadequacy of the current legislation regarding the rights of male same-sex parents whose children were born via surrogacy:

“The only option is for the couple to apply for second-parent adoption, which we do not believe to be an adequate solution.”

The current legislation makes it challenging for some same-sex parents to obtain legal documents – such as passports – for their children. This morning, GCN reported that a married gay couple were finally issued with an Irish passport for their son, a year after their initial request was denied.

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