A new Bill has been published in Ireland that allows same-sex partners to adopt.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James O’ Reilly, published the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016 this week, which updates Ireland’s adoption law to give same-sex couples the right to adopt, and provides for joint parenting of lesbian and gay couples.
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy at Barnardo’s, commented that the incoming legislation – now published, but yet to be implemented – was ‘a further sign that we as a nation are prioritizing children’s rights and needs and it is fitting we do so in 2016’.
A major step for Ireland
Previously, same-sex couples could adopt under the ‘sole applicant’ rule, meaning the child was only legally adopted by one partner. The new Bill extends adoption rights to same-sex couples and cohabiting partners.
The Bill follows Ireland’s legalization of gay marriage by popular vote last year, when 62% of the Republic’s electorate voted in favor of same-sex marriage, against the wishes of the Catholic Church. The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, called the result of the Irish referendum a ‘defeat for humanity’.
The adoption Bill was first approved by the Irish government last year. At the time, Ireland’s Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said: ‘This reform of family law is a major step forward. It’s a substantial and detailed response to the reality of family life in Ireland today.’
Helping LGBT families
Now that the Bill has been published, it is a matter of formalities before it is passed into law. In a statement, the co-chair of Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Kieran Rose, said: ‘Last year was a transformative year for Ireland and for LGBT people in Ireland.
‘The Bill published today should complete the package of legal changes to implement the will of the people expressed in both the Children’s and Marriage referendums.’
He added: ‘We look forward to working with the Minister for Children in ensuring that the Bill is enacted as quickly as possible.’
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