Irish LGBT marriage equality group to launch report on the lives of children raised by gay parents

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An Irish equality group is to launch the results of a report documenting the experience of children raised in Ireland by LGBT parents.

In researching their report, entitled Voices of Children, Marriage Equality – a body working for equal marriage rights for lesbians and gay men in Ireland – conducted interviews with 12 participants, all of who were raised by lesbian parents.

The range of social and legal issues raised in the report will be discussed at a one-day conference being held as part of the launch.

The Irish Times reports that Voices of Children “reveals the closeness of such families, but also the anguish caused by legal loopholes that rob them of basic rights”.

It is hoped that the report will raise public awareness about the uncertain legal status that LGBT families face in Ireland.

Ireland’s recently published Civil Partnership Act does not give the children of civil partners the same rights as those of married couples. On top of this, the act does not recognise the relationship between a child and its non-biological civil-partnered parent.

Hence, the children of gay parents are left in a precarious position when it comes to issues including the protection of the family home, maintenance, succession rights, divorce, guardianship and custody.

The report also details incidents of everyday homophobia, in particular the policy of some schools who will not allow sick children go home with their non-biological parent.

Excluding children raised in LGBT families from adoption and Civil Partnership legislation has been questioned by the Ombudsman for Children, who suggested such discrimination could give rise to violations of international human rights.

The issue of the legislation is likely to be significant one at the upcoming referendum on children’s rights and will give campaigners the opportunity to address their significant concerns.