Northern Ireland court rules in favour of same-sex adoption

18 Oct 2012


Today Marriage Equality welcomed news that courts in Northern Ireland have ruled in favour of joint adoption by same-sex couples. The law had previously allowed for adoption by individuals or married heterosexual couples only, and same-sex couples in civil partnerships were prohibited from adopting. Mr Justice Treacy found that this prohibition was in violation of Articles 8 (Respect for Private and Family Life) and 14 (Discrimination).

Marriage Equality Director Moninne Griffith said: "We are delighted with today's ruling, and wish to congratulate everyone involved on this positive step forward. Although this case does not directly affect same-sex couples wishing to adopt in the Republic of Ireland, it does send an important message that same-sex couples should be treated equally as any other potential adoptive parents. We hope our own government will quickly follow suit and extend joint adoption rights to both existing and future same-sex parents here as well."

Under current Irish law, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people may apply to adopt as individuals; however, there is no provision for joint adoption. In September 2010, Marriage Equality published its ground-breaking report, Voices of Children. The report, based on personal testimony of young adult children with lesbian parents, looked at how the lack of legal protection for themselves and their families affected their daily lives. A key recommendation from the report was that the Irish Government must establish legal recognition of children in LGBT families, through appropriate amendments to adoption and guardianship laws, and the introduction of civil marriage rights for same sex couples.