No campaigner John Waters has said that a yes vote in the marriage equality referendum would dilute the definition of the family in the Constitution.
Mr Waters said that, under changes, including recent legislation, a gay couple with a child from a previous marriage could now claim custody and thereby “sideline the first parent”.
Meanwhile, international children’s charity Unicef has said that no vote campaign group Mothers and Fathers Matter (MaFM) misinterpreted its data on the impact on children of growing up with just one parent.
MaFM has cited a 2007 Unicef report to support its claims that children who grow up in single-parent households are more likely to suffer personality disorders.
However, Unicef spokeswoman Yekaterina Chzhen said: “It is very unfortunate that [the 2007 report] was used to imply that traditional families are in any way better for children than other families.”
The development comes as the no side prepares to submit a dossier to gardaí on instances in which their posters and campaign material have been vandalised and ripped down by those they claim are on the yes side.
Mothers and Fathers Matter says it has photographs, online material,and witness information from several areas nationwide which is claims shows the damage done.
Group spokeswoman Margaret Hickey said chief superintendents would get the dossier. “It’s the same act as damaging someone’s property,” she said.
“There are also videos of people competing to take down as many as they can.”
Mr Waters, a journalist who last week launched First Families First, which is opposing the referendum, yesterday told Newstalk that the no side are being scared into silence.
“I believe the issue isn’t actually same-sex marriage per se — it’s the effect this will have on the constitution,” he said.
“When you put in a new definition of family... you will by definition dilute the existing concepts.”
He said the recent Children and Family Relationships Bill, which provides for same sex couples to jointly adopt-allows judges to revoke guardianship and custody rights from parents.
Mr Waters said that a gay couple with a child from a previous marriage would then be able to claim “custody of children from the first marriage and in effect they can sideline the first parent”.RELATED: Marriage equality: Why I won’t be saying ‘I do’ to gay marriage
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