A new law will allow all couples, gay and straight, to record themselves on birth certs as the ‘parents’ of their child rather than as the mother and father. Thus, is another giant step taken towards de-gendering parenthood and the family, and without a peep of protest from the opposition parties. The new measure is also a giant step towards replacing the biological parent with the concept of the ‘intending parent’.
The new Civil Registration Bill was approved this week by the Cabinet. It will allow a lesbian couple to record themselves on a birth cert as a child’s parents (rather than as ‘mother’ and ‘mother’), and the same right will be extended to opposite-sex couples.
An opposite-sex couple can still record themselves as a child’s mother and father if they wish, but can also register themselves as the ‘parents’, in effect as ‘Parent A’ and ‘Parent B’, or ‘Parent 1’ and ‘Parent 2’. In other words, they can de-gender themselves if so inclined.
We now know for sure what this Government, the opposition parties, and the Irish State generally think of the distinct biological realities of motherhood and fatherhood and their importance: they think nothing at all of them.
The fact that every child ever born has a mother and a father is now of no consequence to the Irish State. Describing yourself as a ‘parent’ will do because the Irish State believes mothers are the same as fathers, so why bother to insist that people record themselves on birth certs as mothers and fathers?
Aside from de-gendering parenthood, the State is also demoting the biological parents of a child in favour of whoever intends to be the parents of a child.
If two women intend being the parents of a child, then put their names on a birth cert, even if they can’t both be the birth parents.
If an opposite-sex couple use a sperm donor to have a child (making him the biological father), there is no need to record that fact on the birth cert either (not the short version of it anyway).
And some day soon, if a couple use a surrogate to have a child, then even the birth mother won’t have to be recorded. Again, only the intending parents will be recorded, which is to say, the people who commissioned the surrogate.
Children in the future may take a very different view of what the State is doing. You can tell a child all you like that its mother and father are simply its ‘parents’, or that the child doesn’t even have a mother or a father. But the child will know differently. You can’t simply sweep aside the facts of biology as easily as that and pretend they don’t matter. We already know this from all the donor-conceived and adopted children who seek out their biological parents.
In short, what the Government is doing is an attack on the rights of the child.