Yes campaign statement welcoming Referendum Commission definitive legal clarity ending incorrect linking of surrogacy and Marriage Referendum

13 May 2015

Yes Equality has today welcomed the legal clarity provided by the Referendum Commission which makes abundantly clear that there is no link between surrogacy and the Marriage Referendum.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, Chair of the independent Referendum Commission, this morning said;
“No, there is not an automatic right to surrogacy; there is no right to surrogacy. At the present moment surrogacy is not regulated at all. There is no right of access in law and there is no right to prohibit anybody accessing surrogacy. The government has plans to regulate surrogacy; we don’t know how they will be regulated but it is going to be regulated independent of the outcome of this referendum.”

Grainne Healy, Yes Equality spokesperson said;
“Finally to cut through all the distortion, the independent Referendum Commission have now provided the Irish public with utter clarity that surrogacy has no connection to the outcome of the Marriage Referendum on May 22. We hope the debate will now focus on what the referendum is actually about; extending civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.

“While Yes Equality have repeatedly called out the false link being made between the Marriage Referendum and surrogacy, we hope the clarity given by the independent Referendum Commission will halt the unfounded claims that the two are connected. It is a myth that surrogacy and the Marriage Referendum are connected.”

Mr Justice Cross confirmed the comments made by Mr Geoffrey Shannon, Chair of the Adoption Authority of Ireland that all adoption decisions must be in the best interests of the child. Mr Shannon said;
• “whether you vote yes or no on the 22nd of May, the adoption process is not going to change”
• “The best interests of the child is the key requirement in determining whether someone gets the licence to adopt”
• The adoption assessment process “is not concerned with gender or sexual orientation”.

Civil Partnership
On the difference between civil partnership and civil marriage Mr Justice Cross said;
• “Married couples have constitutional and legal protection, whereas civil partners only have legal protection. Legal protection is something that can be changed, amended, whittled down by act of the Oireachtas. Constitutional protection can only be removed by vote of the people in a referendum”.