New bill will allow same-sex couples to use ‘parent’ on birth certificates

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty will today confirm Government approval for the preparation of a bill which will affirm the parental rights of same-sex couples on the birth certificates of children born through donor-assisted births.

The Civil Registration Bill 2019 will, according to the Department of Social Protection “resolve a number of difficulties in the registration of donor-assisted births and will be brought forward as a priority”.

“This bill will extend the required particulars for registration of a birth to include ‘parent’ on a birth certificate,” it said.

“At present, birth certificates issued in respect of donor-assisted children born to same-sex couples only allow for the recording of the mother’s details.

“These changes will facilitate the registration and re-registration of births of children of same-sex female couples, and this will affirm their parental rights.”

It said that furthermore, in addition to the current labels of “mother” and “father” on birth certificates, parents of non-donor assisted children may also avail of the label “parent”, should they so request it.

Ms Doherty said: “While the changes proposed will affect a relatively small number of people, they touch on matters that are very sensitive and of great importance to those families affected.

I have met with and spoken to many affected by this issue and I am now very pleased to be able to bring these changes forward as a priority to ensure that they can be introduced as soon as possible.

According to the Department of Social Protection, the bill will also include provisions for:

  • A role for a next of kin in providing a coroner with additional details in relation to a deceased person’s particulars
  • Sharing of General Register Office data and records with a body such as the National Library or National Archives
  • Collection of additional details in respect of deceased persons so that the Central Statistics Office can comply with obligations under EU regulations

It said it is expected that the bill will be published and brought before the Houses of the Oireachtas early in the spring legislative session.

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