New Adoption Bill completes routes to legal protection for lesbian and gay families


Minister for Children and Youth Affairs James Reilly

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James O’Reilly, today published the Adoption (Amendment) Bill 2016. The Bill gives effect to the Children’s Referendum, and also updates adoption law for all families and ensures that civil partners may apply to adopt, that children in long term foster care may be adopted and that step parents may apply to adopt their spouses’ child.

“The publication of this Bill by Minister O’Reilly is very welcome. The Bill provides for the remaining legal changes to ensure that children growing up in lesbian and gay headed families can have the same access to legal certainty and security as children in other family types” said GLEN Co-Chair, Kieran Rose.

“Many lesbian and gay couples are long term foster-parents; many civil partnered couples are de-facto joint parents; and many people who are married or in a civil partnership are step parents to their partner’s children. The Bill published today, when passed, will provide legal routes to adoption for these families, ensuring that their children are protected and have legal certainty around their families” said Rose.

The Bill implements the Children’s Referendum provision of ensuring that the best interests of the child are to be the paramount consideration, and restates and updates provisions of the Child and Family Relationships Act 2015, which provided for adoption by civil partners and cohabiting couples, amongst other provisions, which had not yet been commenced. Further provisions in that Act, when commenced, will provide for joint parenting for lesbian and gay couples.

“Last year was a transformative year for Ireland for and LGBT people in Ireland. The changes in marriage and in family law provided equal recognition, protection and status for same-sex couples and their children. 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. We look forward to working with the Minister for Children and the new Oireachtas in ensuring that the Bill is enacted as quickly as possible” concluded Rose.

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