Equal rights for children of LGBT couples in Ireland

SINÉAD, SIOBHÁIN, FIONN & ISABELLA​

 Two years … Two whole years, gone in the blink of an eye. It has been the most wonderfully scary, amazingly worrying and fantastically fulfilling two years of their lives. All parents experience this! Unlike most parents though Sinéad & Siobháin have had these two years completely overshadowed, because one of them is not considered a parent in the eyes of the law.

One of them is considered less than. What does this say to Fionn and Isabella growing up?  Mama doesn’t matter. Her love and devotion isn’t considered equal to Mum’s. This is wrong.

To be the Mama & Mum to Fionn & Isabella and watch them grow from tiny babies to their beautiful selves, surely does testify to love! And both parents would like to be given their equal titles and recognition, just like all those other parents out there.

Showing to Fionn & Isabella that their family can have ALL the years safe in the knowledge that Mum & Mama are looking after them and if anything should happen to Mum, Mama has all the rights to keep them safe and loved.

If you’re a parent yourself you’ll know it’s time (sooner rather than later) that Siobháin deserves to be recognised as the parent she is! Is her love any less than Sinéad’s? Any less than yours? Can you testify to this love?

Same Sex families in ireland demand equal rights

Shiran, Chen & Ray

I’m Shiran and my wife is Chen and we have a little boy Ray, he is 21 months old.
We are originally from Israel and moved to Ireland 2.5 years ago as we thought that here the LGBTQ rights are better which it seems still not the case.
We would love to have another child but don’t want to have it in a country where we both can’t be recognized as the moms of the child.
Equal rights for children of LGBT couples in Ireland

Ranae, Audrey, Ava & Arya

Our names are Audrey and Ranae. We are married with two gorgeous girls conceived through Reciprocal IVF. Because of the way the current legislation is written, we will be excluded from it, even when it does finally come in. 

That means that my wife has zero legal connection to her own biological children. In every other way we are considered a family.

But when it comes to our children we are discriminated against. Times up. We need equality now. 

Audrey, Ranae, Ava and Arya

Same Sex families in ireland demand equal rights

lou, Ellie, Caodhan & Senan

We are Lucille (Lou) and Elaine (Ellie) and our 2 sons, Caodhan (8) and Senan (4).  We live in North County Dublin and are a normal, happy family, apart for one huge difference, only I, as the birth mother of our children, is recognised as the boy’s parent. 

Ellie and I met in 2009, we had Caodhan in 2011, and Senan in 2014, and we married in 2016. We thought the most difficult thing about having our kids would be deciding how we brought them up, dealing with tantrums, making sure we guided them in the right directions, little did we know that we would be going onto to have a battle for recognition of our family unit.

 

 We have been exceptionally lucky so far to not have come across any negative interactions with schools, doctors, hospitals, but the fear is there that we will one day. Like most families, each of our kids finds comfort in one of us, Caodhan finds comfort in Ellie and Senan with me, what this means is, when Caodhan is sick or upset, it is Ellie he seeks to mind and care for him most and with Senan it’s me.

Ellie has joint custody and guardianship of both of our boys, which was issued in Dolphin House in 2016. 

The Judge, Judge Furlong (no relation) was so sympathetic to our case, and guided us on the best requests to give, he even stated that this was the closest thing to parentage he could grant and wished he could do more but legislation wasn’t there for him to do so.  Great and all as this is, this is not nearly enough….Ellie is not a guardian or our boys, she is their mother, she provides for them, cares for them daily, feeds them, loves them, nurtures them, educates them, worries about them, listens to them, guides them, supports them, works hard to give them what they need and want…..she is equally their parent as much as I am.  

She was there at conception, she was there for every appointment we had during the process to have our boys, she was at every scan, she was there to help me when I was sick during the pregnancies, she was the one who got to hold both of them first, she got to pick their names, she was the one to give them their first baths, she is their parent as much as I am.  

Our boys are from a 2 parent family, they are loved by both of us and they are cherished by both of us, it saddens me to think that our government hasn’t fixed these issues to ensure that our family have the same rights and are equal to all families in Ireland, we are no different to any other family apart from the fact that we are both women-why should our boys be discriminated against and not protected by law, because of our sexuality.

Same Sex families in ireland demand equal rights

Our Family

This is our family. Both our children were born in the UK. We’ve moved back to Ireland and even though both of our names are on our children’s birth certificates, only my wife is recognised by the state as a parent to our children. 

I’ve been told I can’t sign papers for my daughter’s school enrollment. I’ve had to argue with a nurse so as not to be turned away from my son’s vaccination appointment. They are my children.

Caroline

Same Sex families in ireland demand equal rights

Elaine, elaine, paul & richard

Paul and Richard were born in Edmonton, Canada in August 2019. Here in Canada we are both their legal parents and are recognised as such on their birth certificates. 

However, even when the Children and Family Relationships Act is finally commenced, only one of us will be recognised as a parent under Irish law because the Act specifically excludes children born outside of the state. In Canada, my relationship to our children is legally protected. It saddens and angers me that they will lose this protection when we move back home to Ireland. The thought of not being able to advocate for my children or provide an inheritance for them as a parent is deeply upsetting.

Elaine, Elaine, Paul and Richard

Same Sex families in ireland demand equal rights

Jay, aaron & jake

We want to know why the government won’t allow families to be recognized. Give us a reason for it and what the plan is for those families who will not be recognized. 

Also, for our personal position, we used international surrogacy – why can’t Ireland recognize countries such as Canada, as having high standards in place and allow international surrogacy agreements be mirrored in Ireland giving families the same rights?

Jay, Aaron and Jake

Same Sex families in ireland demand equal rights

Marilyn & ashana

My wife and I became the proud parents of our baby boy Roman in October 2018. One of the most sad and loneliest trips I’ve ever had to make was to the Registry office to register the birth of OUR son but with just MY name on it. Every day, my wife is reminded of the fact that she is not a legally recognised parent to our son.

She does everything I do, she feed him, she clothes him, she nurtures him, comforts him when he cries and gives him all the love inside her heart every day and he is her absolute world. In his eyes I can see he loves her so much, yet in the eyes of the law, she is NOTHING to him.

God forbid something were to happen to me in the morning, my wife has no rights to her son, THIS affects us every second of every day. Please secure our rights as a united family.

Marilyn and Ashna

Same Sex families in ireland demand equal rights

Kelly, gabriela & luca

For us we need the security being legally recognised. Our families live abroad so a passport is a must.

My question is, how do you legislate a passport with illegal information? Saying you’re a single parent when you’re legally married in order to qualify for a passport. How does this not show blatant discrimination?

 

Kelly, Gabriela and Luca

Same Sex families in ireland demand equal rights

Leanne, Níle, Kevin & Willa

This is our daughter Willa with her two Mams and her uncle Kevin on holiday. Like any “normal” family. Unfortunately for Willa though, she is being denied her right to having both of her parents on her birth certificate.

Even though her Mams are legally married in Ireland, Willa’s birth certificate states that she has one parent only. In order to get Willa a passport for this holiday, we were forced to sign a legal affidavit form to say that Willa only has one parent.

As individuals we’ve suffered inequality, as a couple we suffered inequality and battled for our right to marry. Now as that barrier is removed we face the next, the right to peace of mind that our child will be cared for by *her parent* should anything ever happen to my wife or my marriage.

When will we, as contributing members of our society, be treated like all other families where both parent have equal rights to care for our child? This inequality keeps us from achieving what we want so deeply — to be a “normal” family.

Leanne, Níle, Willa & Kevin

We are three!

Myself and my partner have been together for 15 years and in, January 2018, we were really, really lucky to have a beautiful baby girl. She is such a happy baby (well toddler now) and we are so happy to have her.

Her hobbies include looking after her baby dolls; trying on socks (?!); wearing her granny’s jewellery, playdoh, etchasketch, building blocks, and destroying the house. Her favourite animals are dogs, with lions a close second. Our cats are terrified of her.

She loves dancing and good music although her favourite song is Baby Shark. She was also the only kid in the Gymboree who ran around the circle the whole time before banging on the door to be let out.

We are like most parents. We race home from work every day to spend time with her, then wish she’d go to bed a bit earlier, then miss her when she’s asleep. We each look forward to our parental leave day all week then remember that our jobs are way less demanding than a toddler but not near as much fun. The rest of the time we fend off the never-ending housework and worry about the million things that parents worry about and just hope that our baby will always be ok and happy and well.

I would be lying if I said that my partner does 50% of the work in our household. I would say she does about 65%. She is the most loving, patient, good, kind person I know. She’s the kind of parent who will stop when she’s in a rush and carrying bags of shopping to let our daughter look at a slug or a leaf for a very long time, she bakes with her, even though baking with a toddler is disastrous, she put up a fence in the garden so that at least part of it is child-proofed (!) and built a mud-pie station for it (which leads to better results than the baking). She is also our daughter’s genetic mother because, when I was devastated to find out that I had no egg reserve, she gave me hers. That’s the kind of parent she is yet, despite all of this, she has no legal relationship with our daughter and if I were to die tomorrow, our daughter could be taken from her.

We did everything we could (with the information we had) to make sure that we met the criteria of the CFRA. We were assured by a HSE representative that we ticked all the boxes and that the Act would have commenced before our due date but here we are, our daughter almost 2, and it is yet to happen. Add to that the fact that because we had to attend a UK clinic (due to reciprocal IVF not being legislated for here), none of our future children will have equality either. This is because the CFRA and the current AHR Bill do not allow for reciprocal IVF or treatment in a clinic abroad, even if that clinic can meet the regulations outlined by the Irish government and provide the information for the donor register. If we use the embryos we have stored, those children will not have a relationship with their genetic mother under current or upcoming legislaton. Our only other choice is to discard the embryos we have stored in the UK clinic (our daughter’s full genetic siblings), which we don’t feel is a choice at all.

In the UK, we signed a consent form to take on the rights and the responsibilities of being a parent to a child born as a result of the treatment. This is all we want because this is the only way to ensure our child is protected in law. We are a family and we just want to be treated like one.