By Susan Gately - 27 April, 2015
If the marriage referendum passes, same sex couples will have the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples including the right to procreate according to Dr Tom Finnegan, legal advisor to Mothers and Fathers Matter.
Speaking at a conference on Protecting and Nourishing the Family last Saturday in Dublin, Dr Finnegan explained that a 1991 judgement conferred on married couples a ‘right to procreate’.
“That right to procreate encompasses a right to avail of non-natural means of procreation.”
If the Referendum passes it will mean that all same sex married couples have a similar right to procreate under the constitution, he said.
To be a real right, same sex marriages must have a right to avail of things like donor assisted human reproduction or surrogacy.
Earlier Elizabeth Howard shared her story of being the product of ‘donor conception’.
Ms Howard discovered in her mid teens that she and her siblings were conceived in this way.
Her ‘social dad’ was in prison at the time for abusing her brother and some of his friends.
Initially she was relieved but then felt “betrayed”. “I felt like a freak. I felt a loss of identity, even my surname was a lie.”
“People say ‘Love is enough'” but this was not true, she said.
She sympathised with couples who used donor conception. They desired to have and nurture a child. They suffered grief when they couldn’t.
“But the solution to their grief is not by creating grief for someone else,” said Ms Howard, describing her own emotion as “disenfranchised grief”.
Ms Howard said donor conception was wrong and “should be outlawed by any country which respects human rights”.
Slavery has been abolished but it is still legal to buy and sell gametes with “the express intention of creating a human being. It is illegal to sell your kidney, but it is not illegal to sell or give away your gametes which will become your children,”she told up to 200 people at the conference.
Professor of law, Helen Alvare, described what typically follows from the enactment of genderless marriage from the experience in the United States.
While 90% of same sex households in the US were couples raising a child or children from prior heterosexual relationships, said the Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law, nonetheless technological conception was a huge business.
“The doctors who own and run the surrogacy programmes, especially in India where they gather hundreds of women in barns and other large dormitories to gestate babies for wealthy westerners, say that every time a European nation allows same sex marriage their demand for surrogacy goes way up,” she told the packed hall.
Recently the leader of an Austrian same sex marriage advocacy group told Dr Alvare that he could not “go to any convention for same sex marriage action, without dozens of surrogacy businesses soliciting and saying to them: ‘If you really want to be accepted as a married couple, you will get yourself a child. You are going to need us’.”
The US ‘Men Having Babies’ association gives the same message, she added.