Marriage Equality September Hero of the Month

13 Sep 2010

Publication cover - VOC Report Final Sept 10 Cover image for VOC Report Final Sept 10

Marriage Equality proudly salutes the young adults who took part in Voices of Children, a report on a workshop that documents the experiences of young people growing up in Ireland with lesbian parents. They fully deserve the September Hero of the Month award, and to each one of them, we send our praise.

Voices of Children originated from the child of a lesbian parent's comment, "...everyone talks about us but no-one asks us." Marriage Equality wanted to ensure that the voices of these children were heard and so the focus of the research was both on the contemporary, lived reality of children of lesbian parents in Ireland and the lack of legal protection for them and their families.

The reality of growing up in a same-sex family means that legal protections that would apply to a child growing up in an opposite-sex household do not apply. There are countless legal quagmires such as one of your parents having no rights to you and vice versa. Simple everyday situations are made difficult such as being collected from school, or more serious, in a hospital situation. Civil partnership failed to introduce protections for the children of LGBT families. The Voices of Children report identified specific gaps where discrimination is felt by these children, with the education and health system being especially notorious.

In 2009, Marriage Equality publicised the need for such research to be conducted to fully understand the experiences of the children raised in same-sex households. Eleven adult children bravely came forward to share their very personal experience in the hope that this action would provide a better space for current and future generations.

Marriage Equality, based on what the adult children had to say themselves, and what they asked for, developed recommendations, one being a call on the Irish Government to establish legal recognition of children in LGBT families, through appropriate amendment of adoption and guardianship laws and by the introduction of civil marriage rights for gay and lesbian parents.

Marriage Equality is confident that the action of these adult children will certainly provide a better environment for future generations. Our thanks go to each and every participant, to their parents and their siblings.