Both parents in a same-sex couple should be offered the same legal protections according to Equality For Children protestors on Monday, October 21st.
The Equality For Children campaign is a group made up of primarily same-sex parents who would like both parents to be registered on their child’s birth certificate.
One of their spokespersons, Gearoid Kenny Moore, explained how only allowing one parent to be registered on their child’s birth certificate affects day-to-day life.
“So on a practical basis this means that when we bring our children for medical appointments or try to enroll them in schools only one of the parents can consent to those procedures,” he said.
In May of next year, same-sex female couples will be able to register themselves as their child’s parents under the Children and Family Relationships Act. However, this will only be possible for the couple if they used an Irish clinic to conceive their child with an identifiable donor.
The Equality For Children campaign said this leaves many same-sex couples behind, and for that reason they staged their demonstration outside the Department of Health. After their protest, they had a meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris to discuss their concerns.
Harris described the meeting as “positive” and said: “I share the views of the families here today that the current situation is not acceptable.”
Another spokesperson for Equality For Children, Elaine Grange, said that Harris originally promised to enact the Children and Family Relationship Act on October 9th.
“There’s a point where they are making it more complicated by trying to regulate every single corner of an ever changing shape,” she said.
Grange – who is a mother of two – said that when she had to bring her son to the hospital due to an infection, she was worried about whether the hospital would let her sign his medical form.
“That’s wrong. I should have been worried [about] why my child woke up at three in the morning screaming in agony with a roaring fever,” she said.
Kenny Moore also has two children and according to him, Harris said it was unlikely that new legislation accounting for all families would be enacted retroactively to currently existing families. “It’s very likely that we’ll never get the rights that we look for,” Kenny Moore said.
However, the Department of Health said that the new act would allow for retrospective parentage, but only for donor-conceived children born in Ireland.
Brendan Fernando Kelly Palenque
Image Credit: Sonja Tutty