'But what we have is not equal': LGBTQ couple call on Minister to address same-sex parental rights

An LGBTQ couple have called for Minister for Health Simon Harris to legislate for the equal rights of all same-sex parents in Ireland.

A post by mother of two, Ranae Von Meding, received a lot of attention over the weekend after she expressed the frustration faced by her and her wife as LGBTQ parents through a poem.

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The married Dublin couple got engaged shortly after success of the Yes Equality campaign in the 2015 same-sex marriage referendum.

The couple now have two young additions to their new family, but are not fully protected under Irish law.

Ranae and her wife Audrey had children through a ‘Shared Motherhood’ (Reciprocal IVF), meaning that Audrey’s eggs were used to conceive their children, while Ranae carried them.

Rane, her wife Audrey and their children
Rane, her wife Audrey and their children

The current legislation only recognises Ranae as their legal mother as she gave birth to them, making Audrey’s parental rights unclear in the event that anything were to happen to Ranae.

Ranae drafted the poem after a passport renewal process for her three-year-old daughter.

    In 2015 Ireland said yes!
    We got engaged and we both bought a dress.
    My wife and I, we got married and then,
    We had a baby...and then had another again!
    And now here we are, a family of four.
    One day who knows? We might become more.
    But under the Irish law we are treated
    As though our family is still incompleted.
    Considered a single mother and yet,
    Our girls have two parents. And don’t you forget...
    That we voted for marriage equality.
    But what we have is not equal. Not really you see.
    It’s a double standard and every way we lose.
    All we want is fairness- yet we can’t even chose,
    To have both our kids parents recognised in law.
    We are Irish citizens- and yes we are both Mná.
    Then today yet another injustice,
    It’s like they really don’t trust us.
    On one hand we’re equals, treated the same as you.
    On the other we are ‘less than’...and what can we do?
    Something so simple, a passport application.
    Should have been easy, but for a small stipulation.
    That I sign away my wife as though she doesn’t exist.
    My entire life with a single signature dismissed.
    My family is equal though my country doesn’t see.
    All the hurt and humiliation it’s been causing me.
    And countless others who are in the same boat.
    Come on Ireland we can do better. Didn’t we already vote?

Under current law, only one person within a same-sex couple may apply to adopt a child, leading to difficulties further down the line in the event of custody from bereavement, medical situations, passport applications and more.

Although recently introduced legislation grants lesbian couples the right to both register as parents when having donor-assisted children through an Irish fertility clinic, this protection does not apply to couples who do this abroad, or in Ranae and Audrey’s case, when using Reciprocal IVF.

As she is married to a woman, and because Audrey is not recognised as a legal parent, Ranae was forced to omit Audrey’s details on the passport application and fill in a single parent affidavit.

Ranae Von Meding said, “I wanted to shine a light on the inequalities that still exist for LGBTQ people in the post-marriage equality era, and I’m overwhelmed by the positive response.

Every day is a constant reminder that we are not recognised to the fullest degree as two parents, meaning our family is not protected in the way that most families take for granted

This is simply not enough, and I’m calling for action so that we, and others in the community, may live their lives without fear of living on the dangerous sidelines of grey legislation,” she added.

Ranae Von Meding recently launched a petition, calling for equal rights for same-sex parents in Ireland, which to date has received almost 25,000 signatures.

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