Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.

Good News for Irish Fathers

Posted on Friday, December 11, 2009

An Irish court ruled that the biological dad who donated sperm to a lesbian couple still has some rights.
the five judges of the Supreme Court today found that, while man was not entitled to guardianship of the three-year-old boy at this time, it would be in the child's best interest for his father to have access to him.
This case illustrates the coming conflict between lesbian couples and the father of their children. The Irish court surely did the right thing here, in affirming the child's right to have a relationship with his father.  But, as Iona Institute's Director David Quinn points out, cases like this illustrate the need for child-centered regulation of Artificial Reproductive Technology. This ruled overturned a lower court ruling that had relied on the European Convention on Human Rights.
Referring to the High Court ruling that the lesbian couple had family rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, Chief Justice John Murray added that European Court of Human Rights rulings were not directly applicable in Ireland and its influence is moral and political rather than real. Crucially, Ms Justice Susan Denham ruled there was no such institution as a 'de facto' family in Ireland and that the lesbian couple were not a family under the Constitution. She also found that there was benefit to a child, in general, to have the society of his father and was satisfied that the High Court also gave insufficient weight to this factor. She found that the High Court had given insufficient weight to the fact that the man is the biological father of the child and she said he had rights as a natural father.
This is a welcome ruling. H/T Tom O'Gorman.
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