Minister slams no side claim

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has joined the Government chorus rejecting no campaign claims that the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum will have a bearing on the issue of surrogacy.

Speaking at the launch of the Policing Authority Bill, Ms Fitzgerald said the referendum was about “giving same-sex couples the right to marriage” while the area of assisted human reproduction (AHR), including surrogacy, required legislation. There is no legislation governing AHR in Ireland.

Ms Fitzgerald said she believed in banning commercial surrogacy — where a surrogate is compensated by the intended parents.

Marriage Equality Referendum: Answering key questions .

She dismissed the suggestion that giving constitutional protection to same-sex married couples would give them an automatic right to surrogacy.

“There’s no automatic right,” she said. “It’s like adoption, there’s no automatic right, either constitutionally or in law to any of these services.” This was true for both heterosexual and same sex couples, Ms Fitzgerald added.

She also rejected the no side argument that schools will have to change their teaching if the yes vote wins out. She said schools would not be forced to teach anything that ran contrary to their ethos.

Independent senator Ronán Mullen said Ms Fitzgerald “was wrong” to say surrogacy was not bound up with the same-sex marriage referendum.

He also said teachers who wanted to teach that there was a “particular value to marriage between men and women because it unites children with their biological parents” would be up against the “equality police”.

Marriage Equality Referendum: Answering key questions .

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