LGBT Ireland has put together a guide to understanding the legal recognition of parenting relationships for LGBTQ+ families.
The purpose of the guide is to explain the legal position, as it is currently understood, for many of the known pathways to parenthood involved in LGBTQ Families.
Legislation in this area is changing and the document attempts to set out the position pre-commencement and post-commencement of the relevant sections of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 (CFRA 2015) while also addressing situations which are not covered by the CFRA 2015 or may be addressed in other legislation.
LGBT Ireland is currently in the process of arranging a monthly legal clinic with FLAC, who provide legal advice and with the aim to start these clinics from September onwards. More details will be published on LGBT.ie once details of the legal clinic have been finalised.
This is in anticipation of questions families may have regarding their individual situation.
This follows a meeting yesterday in which LGBT Ireland and two representatives from the LGBTQ Family Group with Simon Harris and officials from the Department of Health.
Paula Fagan of LGBT Ireland said the focus of this meeting was twofold:
“To get assurance that the CFR Act will be fully commenced and a timeline for same. And to impress upon the Minister that the forthcoming AHR Bill needs to recognise all LGBTQ families not currently covered by the CFR Act.
“On the first issue, the Minister outlined his intention for Parts 2 & 3 to be passed through the Dáil this week and the Seanad next week to allow for commencement of these provisions by October. This will leave Part 9 to be commenced by Department of Social Protection in relation to the Registration of Births and he committed to speaking directly to Minister Doherty to seek commencement of Part 9 on the same timeframe.
“We will be following up directly with Minister Doherty on this as well to get written response on her plans around commencing Part 9.
“In relation to legislation for those LGBTQ families not covered by the CFR Act, the representatives from the LGBTQ Family group gave personal testimony about the impact the lack of legal recognition has on their families. And we impressed upon him all of the parenting pathways for LGBTQ people not covered by the CFR Act and that we will continue to campaign until all LGBTQ Families have a process for legal recognition.
“The Minister advised that the forthcoming AHR Bill is currently with the Health Committee for pre-legislative scrutiny. The committee will need to hold more hearings on the General Scheme of the Bill before it can progress to the next stage. This presents an opportunity for parenting pathways not currently included under the General Scheme to be added.
“On foot of the meeting yesterday, we will be seeking a hearing with the Health committee and will draft a detailed submission on recommended legal frameworks to present, including examples from other jurisdictions to inform this process.”
Many Families Still Facing Exclusion
The commencement of parts 2 & 3 of the Child and Family Relationships Act has been welcomed but the legislation falls short for many parents.
Surrogacy and assisted human reproduction is not included and not yet legislated for in Ireland.
Earlier this week we spoke to a Father, who wished to remain anonymous, who is excluded from the CFR bill. He said that he may be forced to move his family to the UK where his partner would be legally recognised as the parent of their son and daughter if the government doesn’t introduce legislation that would see this resolved soon.
“I couldn’t believe it when I rang Simon Harris’ office. I said “this is discrimination, it’s very sexist towards Fathers, is it saying that gay men are less a parent than gay women.”
“Whatever answer they give me as to why this is the case, the answer would never be good enough because the way I feel is that when equality came into this country, it was for all couples, not exclusive to some.
“If I could say anything to Simon Harris I would say why is my family excluded from this bill, why has he turned his back on gay fathers. There can only be one genetic parent in a female same-sex family and in a male same-sex family. Surely we should all have equal status and equal rights.”
Another couple who live in Canada, 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”.
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