The Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter TD, in a speech today at the Marriage Equality conference LGBT Parenting in Ireland reiterated his commitment towards same-sex parents by bringing a Bill to recognise the ‘reality of the diversity of family life in today’s Ireland’ through the Oireachtas by the end of 2014.
Minister Shatter said that the objective of the Bill is “to remove the legal inequalities’” experienced by the many children who do not live in a constitutional family based on marriage”.
He also stated that he wanted to put in place “a legal architecture to underpin diverse parenting situations” and acknowledged that many of the issues that need to be addressed are common to both LGBT and opposite-sex parents.
“There are lesbian and gay couples all over Ireland who are bringing up children. These families urgently need legal recognition and protection, the lack of which carries significant consequences for their children” said Kieran Rose of GLEN, welcoming Minister Shatter’s speech.
The Minister confirmed that the family law changes to include LGBT families are “of direct relevance today in the context of civil partnership”, and are needed regardless of the outcome of any referendum on access to civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples.
The Minister is expected to bring a Draft Bill to Cabinet shortly. The Bill will then be forwarded to Oireachtas committees for consideration, which will include a consultative process.
Recognising that the issue of children and parental rights is “a key issue that needs to be addressed in advance of the referendum” the Minister said, adding that he aims to publish the Bill prior to the summer Dáil recess and that it would then be debated in the Oireachtas in the autumn and passed by the end of 2014.
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