Rights group expresses concern over Supreme Court ruling

Gay rights group the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) today said it was "very concerned" at the Supreme Court's rejection of a same-sex couple as a "de facto family".

The comments refer to the court's ruling in the case of a man who donated sperm to a lesbian couple, who today part won a landmark court battle to secure access to his son.

The Supreme Court ruled that, while the man was not entitled to guardianship, he has natural rights over the three-year-old child as the lesbian couple were not a "de facto family" under the Constitution.

In a statement GLEN said the Supreme Court had "rolled back" a High Court judgement which recognised same-sex families as de facto families under the European Convention on Human Rights.

“There is no mechanism for a child in same-sex headed families to establish a legal connection to their non-biological parent. This is not in the best interests of the child” said Brian Sheehan, Director of GLEN

“Providing a legal framework for parenting, with the welfare of children the paramount guiding principle, will also help clarify obligations and responsibilities from the outset,” continued Mr Sheehan.

“Such a legal framework should help to avoid in the future the emotional trauma to which all the parties in this case have been subjected”.

“This judgement highlights the importance and urgency of providing legal support and recognition of the many children being parented by same-sex couples in Irish law, for example in the Civil Partnership Bill currently going through the Dáil.

"GLEN urges the Government to include in this legislation a legal framework that recognises and protects families headed by a same-sex couple.”

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