April 07, 2021 – 23:53
Six years after the passage of a law affirming the rights of same-sex mothers, two women in Ireland have become the first to be legally recognized as parents of their children from birth.
Geraldine Rea and Niamh O’Sullivan welcomed their daughters Réidín and Aoibhín O’Sullivan Rea 7 weeks ago, according to The Irish Times. The names of both mothers appear on the birth certificates of the babies as parents.
Such recognition has long been awaited. Ireland passed the Child and Family Law in 2015, but the final provisions did not take effect until 2020. Prior to that, same-sex parents in Ireland were required to go through a complicated legal process to gain legal recognition for both parents. The new law now allows automatic recognition of same-sex spouses, civil partners and cohabitants, just as it would for different-sex partners.
The new parents hailed the historic moment as a great burden lifted at an extremely busy time. “Why do I have to go to court?” O’Sullivan told RT Ireland News. “It is much easier now that I do not have to go to court and prove that I am their other parent – I just am!”
“The road to parenting for same-sex couples is already more difficult,” Rea added, “so getting birth certificate litigation simply makes it a little easier for us and everyone else who will come after us ”.
Civil rights groups stressed the tremendous importance of legal recognition. “It is extremely important for children to have a legal relationship with their parents from birth […] who care for them and love them every day, “Paula Fagan, chief executive of LGBT Ireland, told RTÉ News.
But there is still more progress needed. As stated, the current law does not include male spouses or mothers traveling to fertility clinics outside Ireland.
According to Fagan, lawmakers will receive a proposal later this year – known as the Draft Assisted Human Reproduction Code (AHRB) – that could address those issues. During the work, the AHRB was first published in 2017 and which would regulate surrogacy, embryo donation and stem cell research. It does not currently contain a provision addressing the recognition of two male fathers, but the language is not final.
The existing Child and Family Relations Act of 2015 was adopted after a decade of study, beginning with a report on Assisted Human Reproduction in 2005. In the following years, religious groups advocated against access to adoption, claiming that children would were harmed if deprived of a mother and father – a claim not supported by evidence.
Ireland granted limited civil partnership rights in 2010 but did not address parenting until a constitutional amendment was adopted in 2012. This amendment was postponed until 2015 due to legal challenges.
As this challenge continued, the Child and Family Law was introduced in 2014 by Alan Shatter, then Minister for Justice and Equality, then back in 2015 by Shatter’s successor, Frances Fitzgerald. Because the bill focused primarily on in-vitro fertilization, it only addressed pregnancies in which the newborn mother intended to be a parent.
After a month of discussion, that bill was passed by a 20-2 vote, then signed by President Michael Higgins in April 2015.
Public support in Ireland for adoption by same-sex parents of any gender is around 70%, according to a survey in 2015 when the law was passed. In the same year, an overwhelming majority of 62% of Irish voters approved a landmark referendum to expand legal recognition of same-sex couples. / KultPlus.com