Senator Annie Hoey urges the Cabinet to prioritise LGBTQ+ parental rights issues

Although marriage equality was achieved in Ireland almost six years ago, same-sex couples still do not have equal rights when it comes to parenting.

Two women hugging two little girls
Image Source: Ranae von Meding of Equality For Children with wife Audrey and their children

Labour Party spokesperson, Annie Hoey, has today called upon the Cabinet to address the “pressing issue” of LGBTQ+ parental rights. In a letter addressed to Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, Hoey has outlined the importance of reviewing and publishing a report examining the unequal legal rights of same-sex parents.

According to the Senator, a review was conducted on the issue by Dr Conor O’Mahony and submitted to Minister O’Gorman’s office on December 11, 2020, but has yet to be approved by the Cabinet. Hoey goes on to say that while the report remains unpublished, “families continue to wait for the legal security they need and deserve.”

The letter continues by stating: “The immediate priority of LGBTQ family rights campaigning groups, like Equality for Children, is to see the review published so they can read and respond to it. LGBT Ireland, in consultation with affected families, has proposals for how the Bill could ensure legislative protection for all families. It is vital the Cabinet approves the publishing of this report in order that families affected can review and respond to it.”

This May, it will be six years since Ireland achieved marriage equality, however many families still only have one recognised parent in Irish law. The non-recognised parent is a legal stranger, and in the event of bereavement or illness, their child would be left with no legal parent or guardian – essentially orphaned. As well as this, the non-recognised parent has no recourse in the event of a relationship breakdown, cannot consent to medical procedures for the child, and cannot bring the child abroad without permission. 

CEO of Equality for Children, Ranae von Meding, has been carrying out Instagram takeovers to raise awareness of the issue. She started by appearing on RTE’s Jennifer Zamparelli’s account, and her next takeover will be of Lisa Cannon’s profile on Friday, March 26. Ranae’s aim is to reach as many people as possible, educating them on how, when it comes to parental rights, LGBTQ+ couples are #StillNotEqual.

“There are so many issues that arise from the lack of protections our children face and this is the main reason I’ve been trying to do these Instagram takeovers,” von Meding shared. “It’s to try to raise awareness of these difficulties. So many people still do no know that there is a problem. Six years on from marriage equality and we are still waiting for actual equality.” The activist hopes that her campaigning will lead to more Irish celebrities coming forward to help spread the message to the wider population.

You can follow the campaign for equality on Instagram @equalityforchildren, or Ranae’s personal account @ranaevonmeding.

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