New bill establishing equality for female same-sex parents introduced in the Dáil

The Bill aims to close the existing gaps in family law to ensure children born to same-sex couples are treated equally.

Group that introduced the bill to amend the family law establishing equality for same-sex parents.
Image: @ivanabacik (via Twitter)

Today, June 27, a Private Members Bill was brought before the Dáil by Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik, which aims to close the existing gaps in family law to ensure all children born to female same-sex parents are treated equally. 

The Bill was produced hand in hand with LGBT Ireland and Equality for Children, and it consists of amendments to the Children and Family Relationships Act (CFRA), closing several gaps created by the original legislation, particularly where children have been born or conceived abroad, conceived outside of a clinical setting or conceived using a known donor prior to May 4, 2020. 

If passed, the law could establish a process for female couples who wish to become parents that allows them to apply to the court for a declaration of parentage after undergoing screening, obtaining the consent of all parties involved and providing relevant information about the donor. Should the pair fulfil these requirements, the declaration of parentage would essentially recognise both partners as the legal parents of the child.

The Bill also introduces the paramountcy principle to ensure that in all court applications under the CFRA, the best interest of the child is the paramount consideration.

The Bill also recommends introducing a presumption of maternity to offer true equality to children of both opposite and same-sex parents. This would mean that legal recognition of parenthood would be granted equally to mothers in opposite-sex couples as well as to both parents in same-sex couples, ensuring fairness and equal treatment for all children regardless of their parent’s sexual orientation.

Finally, the Bill seeks to right the wrongs of the previous legislation that excluded the use of known donors from retrospective declarations of parentage. This notion was based on the mistaken assumption that parentage could only be transferred if the genetic father was unknown.

If enforced, this would mean that individuals who used a known donor to conceive a child will be able to seek legal recognition as the child’s parent, regardless of whether the genetic father is known or not.



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On the importance of the Bill being passed, Pádraig Rice from LGBT Ireland said: “The clear message from the tens of thousands of people who marched through the streets for Dublin LGBTQ+ Pride this weekend is that they want LGBTQI+ people and their families treated fairly and equally under the law.

“As part of that, the gaps in the law must be closed to allow all children of same-sex couples to have a full legal relationship with both parents. The equality the people voted for in the Marriage Equality Referendum in 2015 won’t be fully realised until this issue is solved.”

On behalf of Equality for Children, Ranae Von Medding remarked: “We are delighted to see Labour bringing forward this Bill on behalf of the existing and future children of same-sex female couples in Ireland.

“These children have been left behind for far too long. We are grateful to Labour for taking up their cause and fighting for their right to equality. If passed this Bill would make a huge difference to the families we represent, 50% of whom are not covered by existing legislation. 

“We’re calling on the Government to respond to the family law proposals put forward in this Bill as a matter of urgency,” she concluded.


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