FFHQ writer and same-sex parent Ranae von Meding shares everything you need to know about her new campaign, 'Equality for Children'.
This week has been a whirlwind, to say the least. It was my birthday yesterday and today is our 11th anniversary. As if that weren’t enough excitement, we also officially launched our new campaign ‘Equality for Children’ last Monday, ahead of our meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris.
There is so much
misinformation out there surrounding LGBT+ families in Ireland and what the
current laws are. So here are the facts, plain and simple.
As it currently stands in Irish law, a child in an LGBT+ family has the right to a legal connection with only one of their parents. The child has no legal connection to the other parent and there is no way to establish this legal connection.
This is the current situation for all LGBT+ families in Ireland (and those living abroad).In our case, I am regarded as the legal parent of our children, because I gave birth to them. My wife, who is their biological mother and my legal spouse, has zero legal connection to them.
There is new legislation, the CRFA (Children and Families Relationship Act) which was passed in 2015 and allows for both parents in an LGBT+ family to be registered as a parent on the child’s birth certificate thus establishing a legal connection between the child and both parents.
However, there is a catch.
Unless you meet the criteria, this law will not apply to you. You have to be a couple who have done fertility treatment in an Irish clinic with a traceable (not anonymous and not known) sperm donor. Oh, and the child has to be born in the state!
If you are unlucky enough not to meet these conditions then you will be left out. That means gay dads, those who conceived through at-home inseminations, those whose children have been born outside the state, those who have used known donors, and those who have done Reciprocal IVF (like my wife and I).
Since it was passed in 2015, the government has announced seven different commencement dates for the CFRA. However, they have delayed introducing the legislation each time, instead of announcing that they had identified further technical errors needing correction.
It is now set to be commenced on May 5th 2020. Assuming this occurs, from May 6th, those who meet these strict conditions of the Act will be eligible for full recognition of their families- both retrospectively and for those having children in the future.
Where does that leave everyone else?
Well, there is another bill called the AHR (Assisted Human Reproduction Bill) which is due to be drafted in the coming year. However, the government continues to hold a very narrow definition of family and is not planning to address all family types within this bill.
At present, they are only planning to look at domestic surrogacy (surrogacy occurring in Ireland); meaning all remaining children will continue to live in legal limbo.
And this is why Equality for Children started. The legislators are focusing on regulating how children are conceived and are not taking into account all the ways in which LGBT+ people become parents.
And the problem is that there are children who already exist and are living in legal limbo while they try to figure it out. So why not focus on inclusive legislation that accounts for all children and treats them all equally, you ask? My thoughts exactly!
Equality for Children Launch.
I’ve been campaigning solo for a long time. But over the last few months, it became clear that we needed to mobilise and start a targeted campaign, which had the sole objective of achieving true equality for all our children.
Last week, at a casual meet up I had organised for LGBT+ families, a very exciting idea was born. We all decided that we’d had enough of waiting patiently and watching as the government pushed our families to the backburner.
Equality for Children was born within that 24hrs and what has followed has been incredible to witness. It reminds me of the Yes for Equality and Repeal campaigns. Within a week we had set up a website, established a social presence, organised a protest and garnered incredible media coverage and support.
We officially launched
the campaign outside of the Department of Health on Monday and received a
wonderful response from the press and the public alike. The resounding message
we are getting is that many people in Ireland thought that we already had
equality. And they are disgusted to hear that this is not the case.
Meeting with Minister Simon Harris.
We had a very productive
meeting. Our delegation included me and my wife Audrey, along with the CEO of
LGBT Ireland, two lawyers and also other parents from the LGBT+ community.
Minister Harris appears to be committed to ensuring equality for our children, although he is not quite sure how to make that a reality. He also had the decency to convey his embarrassment at the 7 missed deadlines that he has overseen.
However, I will be watching closely to see what he can achieve in the coming weeks and months. Actions speak louder than words and I have a hard time trusting anyone after so many broken promises. Though I am hopeful that with continued media coverage and increased public awareness, that we will be successful in our campaign for true equality.
Because until every one of our children has a legal connection to their parents, we do not have an equal Ireland. Until that happens we are Still Not Equal.
Please check out the Equality for Children website where you’ll be able to find out all about the campaign for equality as well as ways of getting involved: www.equalityforchildren.ie