Rosanna Davison turned over her Instagram page to an LGBTQ+ couple who are fighting for equality for LGBTQ+ families in Ireland. The mother-of-three wanted to use her platform to highlight the disparities in Irish law between same-sex parents and opposite-sex parents.
Ranae von Meding, CEO of Equality For Children, and her wife Audrey took part in an Instagram ‘takeover’ of Rosanna’s account sharing the situation for Irish families led by LGBTQ+ parents.
In Ireland, gay dads who conceive through surrogacy, LGBTQ+ couples who conceive through home insemination or who conceive abroad, and children born abroad to same-sex parents do not have both parents legally recognised.
“Equality should extend to the whole family unit. But many parents are still not allowed to establish a legal relationship with their child if they don’t meet the extremely specific criteria. And yes, I’m angry about it,” Ranae shared on Rosanna Davison’s Instagram account. “So much of my time with my young family has been stolen from me. I’ve had to spend time fighting for something that should have just been a basic human and children’s right from the start.”
Rosanna Davison has herself turned to surrogacy after struggling to conceive. In 2019, the former Miss World winner had her child Sophia via a gestational surrogate, after going through 14 miscarriages. As part of her ‘follow Friday takeover’ on Instagram she turned her social media account over to Ranae.
In three moving posts to Davison’s 277k followers, Ranae spoke about the cruelty of the current laws and how they personally impact her, her wife and their two children.
“While on a day-to-day basis our family has always been widely accepted into our community, the fact remains that I have had to do things differently than if I were married to a man. We’ve had to jump through hoops and do things that no parent should have to do. I had to sign two affidavits signing away any knowledge of my wife Audrey in order to obtain passports for our kids.
“I have to be the one to register them for financial, educational and medical institutions- as if I’m a single parent. I have had to live with the knowledge that should the very worst happen to me, there is a chance that our children might not remain with their other mother.”
“There are some moments that stick with me. The day we registered Ava’s birth, we walked into the registration office and saw all the proud parents with their babies. When they called us into the room, the registrar sat down behind her desk. Without looking up she asked, ‘OK, so which one of you is the mother?’ We said, ‘We both are.’ ‘But which one of you gave birth?’ I said, ‘I did!’
“She looked at me and said, ‘OK Ranae, I will be directing all my questions at you, if that’s OK?’ From that point on, she didn’t even look at Audrey. It felt like a kick in the gut.”
In March, two women became the first same-sex parents in Ireland to both be recognised as parents on their children’s birth certs from birth. This occurred under Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 which commenced in May 2020.
However many LGBTQ+ families do not have two legally recognised parents as this new legislation still does not cover them. A report by Prof Conor O’Mahony, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection published last month, provided clear and practical legal solutions which uphold the rights and best interests of children including their right to family life and non-discrimination.
The report also recognised the unequal position of many children in LGBTQ+ Families, who are still unable to establish a legal parental relationship to both of their parents. Ranae von Meding and the Equality For Children organisation want these recommendations enacted immediately.
Ranae concluded her Instagram ‘takeover’ by saying: “Until all children are equally protected, I don’t believe that we can say we live in an equal Ireland. No one is equal until we all are.”
A petition has been launched by Equality for Children calling on the Government and Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to immediately adopt and implement the recommendations made in the report. Sign the petition here.
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