These Irish gay dads are fighting for their son's right to have a passport 3 years ago

These Irish gay dads are fighting for their son's right to have a passport

This Irish couple is fighting for their son's right to have a passport.

Jay O’Callaghan and his husband, Aaron O’Bryan were appalled to discover they are not legally recognised as the parents of their baby son, Jake.

The couple, who are originally from Ireland, currently live in Canada.

Jay and Aaron moved to Toronto seven years ago but returned to Ireland to get married after the passing of the marriage referendum in 2015.

They returned to Canada shortly afterwards and became parents to their son via a surrogate.

Unfortunately for the couple, even though the country voted in support of same-sex marriage, Irish law still prevents their family from being fully recognised.

The dads discovered this when they applied for their son's passport.

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Jay recently told Dublin Gazette;

“Canadian law allows for both fathers to be named on the birth cert, giving us both legal rights to our son. So we have the most valuable document you can have, and just presumed it would be the same in Ireland.

“Irish law doesn’t recognise same-sex parents, it has to be a man and a woman. We voted overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage, but the rest of the Act hasn’t been sorted yet.”

lost

The Children and Family Relationships Act was signed in 2015, but the parts of the Bill which deal with parentage through donor-assisted reproduction have not been enacted.

Last week, Minister for Health Simon Harris revealed he’d sought approval to draft a standalone piece of legislation to close the loophole and deal with the parentage issue.

Currently, though it only recognises same-sex female parents.

"The passport office finally got back to me and said the only route open to us was to appear in front of an Irish court and produce DNA tests to prove one of us is Jake’s biological father."

Mr O'Callaghan was very distressed at the thought of the court process;

"The whole declaration of parentship is so daunting, you have to go up against the State solicitor. Then, after a costly court action, the other one has to apply for guardianship – of their own son! It’s deplorable."

"We don’t want to take a DNA test. We never really wanted to find out who the biological dad is; we are both his dads. It’s left a very sour taste in our mouth."

The dads say that despite the heartache of not being recognised by Ireland as Jake's parents, they will continue to come back to the country to visit family and friends.

 "We’re coming over for Jake’s first birthday; it’s very important to us that he gets to know his family.  Canada has been very good to us, but our hearts are in Ireland."

Being officially recognised as the legal guardians of your child is important not just for the purpose of travel but also when it comes to health matters, and the ability to give permission for their child to receive a medical procedure.

In a 21st century Ireland it's hard to believe that this is still an issue that gay parents still have to struggle against and hopefully it will soon be fully rectified.