The adoption process in Ireland will not be affected by the upcoming referendum on gay marriage a senior official has said.
On 22 May, Irish voters will decide whether their constitution should be amended to recognise same sex marriage.
However, in an interview for Irish TV channel RTÉ, the chairman of the Adoption Authority of Ireland confirmed that, regardless of which way the vote goes, gay couples will have the same opportunities to adopt as they currently have.
Geoffrey Shannon noted that, since 1991 “sole applicants have been in a position to apply to assess for adoption”. This means that adoption is not limited to married couples, as people in cohabiting couples are also eligible to apply if they do so as individuals.
Mr Shannon made it clear that he was “not advocating that people should vote one way or the other” in his interview. He said that, under the current system, a potential adopter is assessed for their capacity to care for a child, but that the birth mother can have final say.
If a new mother “does not want to place her child with a same sex couple, that decision will invariably be respected”, he added. This will not change even if gay marriage is legalised.
The gay marriage vote will be one of two referendums held in Ireland on the same day. The other proposes a reduction in the age of potential presidential candidates from 35 to 21.