The majority LGBT+ families, still don’t have their rights as parents recognised

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When Geraldine Rea and Niamh O’Sullivan became parents to twin girls Réidín and Aoibhín, this week in Cork, they became the first Same-Sex female couple to both be registered, from birth, as their twin’s legal parents. The couple, both in their early thirties, were able to vindicate their right to have the same legal rights as parents because of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 that came into effect last May.

Geraldine gave birth at Cork University Maternity Hospital on the 4th of February, having received donor sperm treatment at the Waterstone Clinic. The couple married in 2018 and will both be recorded on the twins’ birth certificates, ensuring they both have the same legal rights as parents.

‘It is monumental for us and a historic step towards LGBT+ equality, as many children with same-sex female parents can finally vindicate their right to have their family recognised.’ said Niamh.

Yet for the majority LGBT+ families, having their rights as parents recognised is still not an option.

The majority of LGBT+ headed families fall outside any legal framework, meaning that only one parent can be recognised as a legal parent. As a result, such families face unknown outcomes in the event of; bereavement, illness or any family disaster. Despite the progress made today, LGBT+ families are #stillnotequal

Equality for Children, a grassroots campaign launched in October 2019, campaigns for equality for all children of LGBT+ families in Ireland. It was started by a collective of concerned parents and allies, who became tired of waiting for their children to be given the legal equality that they deserve.

Ranae von Meding, CEO of Equality for Children says, “While last week’s actions represent another step forward in our campaign, we are still nowhere near equality for all children of LGBT+ families. Children born through assisted human reproduction to gay dads, born abroad, and conceived through intracervical insemination are just some of those who still have no functioning legal pathway to a legal parent-child relationship with both their parents who love and care for them on a daily basis. It’s not equality until it includes everyone.”

“The Children and Family and Relationships Act dictates a very particular set of rules that LGBT+ parents must follow when creating their families. While this act has provided enormous relief for hundreds of families, including the family recognised today, it is still not good enough that approximately only 40% of the children of LGBT+ families benefit from this bill. The other 60% are denied the option of having a legal connection to both their parents. Almost 6 years after marriage equality, that is simply not acceptable.”

“We recognise that progress has been made via; the CFRA, the Assisted Human Reproduction Bill reaching Oireachtas Committee stage, and the report recently completed by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, Dr. Conor O’ Mahony, regarding the legal rights required by those LGBT+ families not yet protected. These are significant developments that have the potential to provide pathways to legal recognition for the families that currently are prevented from having full legal protections However, the pace of progress is unacceptably slow. We are calling on the government to publish the report from Dr. Conor O’ Mahony and to adopt all of its recommendations in the upcoming Assisted Human Reproduction Bill.”

The campaign has garnered support from across and beyond the LGBT+ community. EFC volunteers work on areas such as; social media, fundraising, lobbying, artwork, legal support etc. The Equality For Children campaign is asking people to support them via volunteering and donations, to enable the fight for full equality.

“As it stands currently , in the vast majority of LGBT+ families only one parent can be a legal parent. This must change. It’s not equal and it’s not what we voted for,” Ranae commented.

More information about ‘Equality for Children’ can be found at @equalityforchildren and at www.equalityforchildren.ie.

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