Voices of Children

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On September 8th 2010, Marriage Equality hosted our groundbreaking Voices of Children Conference.

The conference emphasised that progress on the issue of the legal rights of children to their same sex parents is urgent - many spoke of how such progress will depend on the work and leadership of groups like Marriage Equality. It is our belief that together with other children's rights and lesbian and gay advocacy groups this change will happen if we can show solidarity and a commitment to cherishing all the children equally.

(video below: Conor Pendergrast was joined by Christine Irwin-Murphy at our Voices of Children conference, where they spoke about their experiences growing up with two mums)

The emergence of a new voice - Believe in Equality - is a most welcome and significant development. These children/young people who come from same-sex parented families are now organised and speaking of their needs and prioritising of children/young people needs. This development opens up a potential for action, a new potential for new ways of progressing equality and new potential for building new alliances around this equality issue - a new development that will be a key driving force in making progress on this issue.

Publication cover - Voices of Children Conference ReportCover image for Voices of Children Conference ReportThe Conference provided a space to hear the stories of the failure of the State to hear the voices and provide for the rights of Children - the Civil Partnership Act that fails to address the rights of children in same-sex parented families; the failure of the equality and human rights infrastructure which allows a Government to legislate in a manner that discriminates against same sex couples and their children. We also heard the hard, sad stories of how the legal lacuna in which these children live their lives has consequences in their daily life, disturbing consequences that reinforces their invisibility, the invisibility of their families and makes us more aware of the valiant individual efforts made by their parents to protect their families.

The conference and the report are starter points not end points. Further research is needed, to build the evidence base and convince the legislators and judiciary that the children of same sex parented families have human rights and the State has an obligation to vindicate them.

We would like to thank Karl Hayden for filming the conference proceedings, and for allowing us to share them with all of our supporters. The videos from the day can be found on our website, by clicking here. We also have the report of the conference proceedings available to download, by clicking here.


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