- The Iona Institute - https://ionainstitute.ie -

Government cannot pretend marriage referendum has nothing to do with surrogacy

Press release from The Iona Institute

It has been reported today that the Yes side are worried that the surrogacy issue may help to defeat the marriage referendum on Friday. The Yes side are trying to convince the public that the referendum has nothing to with surrogacy. This is entirely false.

The Referendum Commission has already confirmed that, in the event of the referendum passing, it would be “difficult to imagine” how we could pass a law that would favour opposite-sex married couples over same-sex married couples when regulating surrogacy. (See note 2 below).

This means that if the Government regulates surrogacy as it is planning to do, in the event of the referendum passing it would be almost impossible for it not to extend surrogacy services to same-sex married couple (in practice this will almost always be two men) on the same terms as they are extended to opposite-sex married couples.

Commenting, David Quinn of The Iona Institute said: “If we pass the referendum the Government will have the choice of banning surrogacy entirely as many other countries do, or else providing surrogacy services to opposite-sex couples and same-sex couple on the same terms.  Surrogacy is deeply problematic anyway, but when two men use a surrogate to have a child, that child in addition will be raised without a mother by deliberate choice and that is entirely wrong.

“Also, if we pass this referendum, for the first time two married men or women will be given the right to ‘beget’ children. This opens the very real possibility that two married men would insist that their constitutional right to ‘beget’ children could only be vindicated through surrogacy. A court could very well agree with this.”

Quinn concluded: “This is why the issue of surrogacy is unavoidably entangled in the referendum and the Government cannot pretend otherwise”.


Notes to editor:

  1. The Iona Institute is a pro-family organisation.
  2. The head of the Referendum Commission was asked by The Irish Times last week:

To clarify: in regulating surrogacy, it would be open to the legislature to privilege an opposite-sex couple over a same-sex couple?

Judge Cross responded:

I didn’t say that. If any such differentiation were introduced and the courts were to scrutinise any such differentiation, in order to be upheld there would have to be very good, fact-based reason, relevant to the purpose of the legislation, and everybody would have to be treated fairly and proportionately. It would be a very hard scrutiny. Not impossible, but difficult to imagine.