A sad fact remains this Christmas – 60% of children in LGBT+ families have zero legal rights to one of their parents – five years on from the Marriage Equality Act of 2015.
This week, ahead of Christmas, Equality for Children have renewed their pledge to ensure that progress is made to achieve equality for all children of LGBT+ families. By Christmas 2021, the grassroots group hopes to achieve 100% parental rights for all LGBT+ families.
Sadly, this is not the case today.
“This Christmas we think of all the children of LGBT+ families who have been left behind…As it stands today, only one parent can be a legal parent, which of course is perilous in the event of bereavement, illness and more,” Ranae Von Meding, Equality for Children.
Currently, ONLY 40% of LGBT+ families have the same rights as heterosexual couples, leaving behind 60% of children as not having access to full legal parental rights – and this is five years on from the passing of the Marriage Equality Act of 2015
“For most Irish families, this is the happiest time of the year. It should be a time of joy and celebration. Yet for those who are still not considered a legal family, it can be a really difficult time full of uncertainty and pain,” says Ranae von Meding, CEO of Equality for Children.
It is important to acknowledge that some LGBT+ parents in Ireland now have the same rights as heterosexual parents. This is a huge step in the right direction. However, many families still fall outside of any legal framework – and in these cases only one person in an LGBT+ family can be a legal parent – leaving an unknown outcome for families in the event of bereavement, illness and more.
Despite the progress being made, LGBT+ children are #stillnotequal.
The protections promised in 2015 by the government under the Children and Family and Relationships Act, dictate a very particular LGBT+ family makeup. They finally came to fruition earlier this year and the first parental orders were issued early in the summer. This has been a source of enormous relief for hundreds of families. However, it is not enough. Around 40% of children of LGBT+ families benefit from this bill. That leaves the other 60% with no legal connection to one of their parents. And that simply is not good enough.
Equality for Children recognises that progress has been made with the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill at Oireachtas Committee stage, as well as the ongoing work from the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr. Conor O’ Mahony, to investigate parental rights for LGBT+ families using assisted human reproduction. These are significant developments and have the potential to provide pathways to legal recognition for hundreds of more families.
Equality for Children is a grassroots campaign which was launched in October 2019 – campaigning for equality for all children of LGBT+ families in Ireland. It was started by a collective of concerned parents and allies, who were tired of waiting for their families to be given the recognition they deserve.
The campaign has garnered support from people who are willing to help across social media, fundraising, lobbying, design and more, but the task group is asking people to support them through volunteering to join them in the fight for full equality.
“The reason why this campaign is so important is because many children of LGBT+ parents are still on the dangerous sidelines of grey legislation. We are #StillNotEqual, and our children ultimately suffer the most, until something changes. We look forward to working with government departments in the coming months to progress these crucial issues.” she commented.
To find out more or see how you can help visit their website at www.equalityforchildren.ie.