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Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018

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Snippet Contents:

It was many years ago and much has changed in this State since then. I found it incredibly difficult to find a garda who would stamp the form because my husband and I were not then married. I knew who my child's father was but it was difficult. It felt disrespectful to my family that we did not fit in and were treated like a square peg in a round hole. That is well over 20 years ago and I am happy that circumstances have changed. However, I have received extensive correspondence from same-sex couples. All they seek is what I sought then, namely recognition for our little family unit, however it is constituted. I can understand their concerns and the fact that what is on that piece of paper is important. Although people tell them that they know they are a family, having that piece of paper is important.
The LGBTI community have fought hard for this legislation. They should not have had to fight for it; it should have been forthcoming from the State. At the recent Pride parade, I saw an interesting banner that said, "You only gave us rights because we gave you riots". There is some truth in that. People have had to fight hard for basic recognition. That was wrong but it is good that we have begun the process of putting that right.
Members of the LGBTI community continue to fight for their rights. With that in mind, I cannot let the opportunity pass without commenting on some of the disappointing aspects of this Bill and what it fails to do. The State has a long history of failing the LGBTI community and even with the progressive and positive moves in recent times, that cannot be forgotten. It is concerning that the State is leaving a number of same-sex couples behind and that this legislation will not cover them. Male same-sex couples will be left behind and will not be covered by this legislation as will some female same-sex couples who did not choose home insemination or others who chose fertility treatments abroad and for those who chose to go the route of surrogacy, particularly in the case of male same-sex relationships.
I cannot overstate the concern and disappointment of the many families who have contacted me because they believe this legislation will not help their situation. These families are tired of having to constantly fight for their rights and they want a normal life. Like any family, they want to register the births of their children with both parents on the documentation.
The Minister and the Government will bring forward two different Bills to address the outstanding issues relating to the Child and Family Relationships Act. They need to speak to the stakeholders, listen to their concerns and they must be guided by what they tell them. Some of the sections of the Child and Family Relationships Act that have not been implemented need the implementation of the assisted human reproduction Bill 2017 to become law. I urge that this Bill come back before the health committee for another round of pre-legislative scrutiny as soon as possible.
I am happy that this legislation covers some same-sex couples but we have a job to do to ensure that the message of inclusivity that we are trying to send out is made a reality for the families who so desperately need it.