Children of LGBTQ+ people must be treated equally

Ivana Bacik TD
25 January 2024

Speaking following debate on her bill, the Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2023, Labour Leader Ivana Bacik TD has called on the Government to do right by the LGBTQ+ families whose equal rights were endorsed by the people of Ireland in the 2015 Marriage Equality Referendum.

Deputy Bacik said,

“Rather than engaging with us on the issues, I am disappointed that the Minister for Health has brought an amendment to delay future debate on this important bill by 9 months. The fact is, the existing law – the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 – deprives more than half of children born into LGBTQ+ families from having a legal parent-child relationship with both parents. These is manifestly unfair, and runs counter to the equality that a resounding majority of people voted for in the 2015 Marriage Equality Referendum.

“This inequality is much more than symbolic too; it can have major implications for a child’s citizenship, inheritance, and more, or in the event of marital breakup or a parental death. Parenting by its nature is filled with worries – about how a child is faring at school, whether they are getting along well with their friends, and whether they might become sick or injured. For non-biological parents whose relationship with their child is not recognised in law, these concerns are amplified.

“Our bill – which was drafted in conjunction with Equality for Children and LGBT Ireland – seeks to address some of these inequalities affecting children of same-sex-women parents. In a child’s eyes there is no difference between their biological and non-biological parent. And there should be no difference in the eyes of the law, either. The place of your birth or the mechanics of your conception should not determine whether or not you can have a full legal relationship with your parents.

“Despite his amendment, during the debate, Minister Donnelly indicated that he would engage further with me, and the advocacy groups involved. That is to be welcomed. However, the real test will be in whether we see these important changes coming in.

“Like many groups which have been historically marginalised in Ireland, the LGBTQ+ community has had to fight for its rights. Labour has always been proud to stand with them in that fight, whether it was for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in men, for legal protections from employment discrimination, for the right to marry, for gender recognition laws, and more. However, they should not have to fight and campaign for equal treatment. I am calling on the Minister to work meaningfully with us and to abandon plans to kick these proposals down the road for nine months.”

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