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Irish same-sex couple 'so relieved' after both being legally recognised as parents of their children

Ranae Von Meding says she and her wife Audrey can't properly celebrate until other families have the same legal protections.
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.55 22 Oct 2021


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Irish same-sex couple 'so reli...

Irish same-sex couple 'so relieved' after both being legally recognised as parents of their children

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.55 22 Oct 2021


Share this article


An Irish woman says she and her wife are "so relieved" after becoming one of the first same-sex couples in Ireland to both be legally recognised as parents of their children.

However, she says they can't celebrate fully until other LGBT+ parents and their children receive the same legal protections they have.

Activist and CEO of Equality for Children Ranae Von Meding appeared on Wednesday in a Dublin court for the final step in a five-year fight.

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At the hearing, her wife Audrey Rooney was finally recognised as a parent to their two daughters - five-year-old Ava and two-year-old Arya.

Both of the women were able to be retrospectively recorded on their children's birth certs, after the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 came into force last year.

Speaking on Lunchtime Live, Ranae said it has been a long fight to this point - and that it's about much more than just a piece of paper being changed.

Irish same-sex couple 'so relieved' after both being legally recognised as parents of their children

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She said: “For the last five and a half years I’ve essentially been seen as a single parent.

“We were pregnant in 2016. We got married, blissfully unaware of what lay ahead of us.

"We just assumed because we were married that we’d both have equal parental rights, and a child born within that marriage would have two parents. Sadly, that was not the case.

“We fought very hard to have our kids. To finally get through that process… to then finally have your child in your arms and be unprotected by your government… it’s just a kick in the face.”

Ranae said having to register as a single parent was the "beginning of the fight", and since then she and Audrey have been "fighting to have that legal recognition”.

She said the situation they faced was "simply not right", observing: "They are our children: we had them together.

"It was always a really difficult thing to deal with over the last couple of years. For [Audrey], I think it has just been a weight on her shoulders.

“As parents, all we want to do is make sure our children are protected. This piece of paper allows us to do that.

“I don’t think it’s fully sunk in. We were so relieved. We were exhausted - [we're now] letting out a collective sigh."

Legal 'grey area'

While this week brought some long-awaited good news for her own family, Ranae says their fight isn't over yet.

She said she and Audrey were among the "lucky ones" - and many other same-sex parents simply do not have the same rights they do.

Ranae explained that the legislation that finally came into force last year "doesn't cover all families".

She said: “That piece of legislation… you have to be a female couple, you have to go through a clinic and use a particular type of sperm donor. Then your child actually has to be born in Ireland to qualify.

“Those who are left out are anyone who choose to use non-clinical methods of conception, sometimes known as at-home insemination… anyone who maybe lives aboard and uses a fidelity clinic… or if your child is born abroad.

"All gay dads who have their children through surrogacy… there’s no legislation.”

Ranae's Equality for Children group has now joined with other activists and organisations to lobby the Government for an Assisted Human Reproduction Bill to deal with surrogacy issues.

She said it's “shameful” that there are so many children out there whose parentage isn’t recognised - saying thousands of families are affected, with the issue only going to get "bigger and bigger".

She said: “Every day that goes by without this legislation... children are living in a grey area of the law.

“While we are relieved, we’re not necessarily celebrating. How can I possibly celebrate until all of the children have the exact same protections as my children now have?”

Main image: Ranae Von Meding and Audrey Rooney with their children Ava and Arya. Pic: supplied.

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