Lawyers’ group caution on Yes campaign advocacy

Lawyers for No say other side speaking with ‘unwarranted certainty’ concerning surrogacy

Advocates of a Yes vote in Friday's marriage referendum are speaking with "unwarranted certainty" on issues such as surrogacy and donor-assisted reproduction, according to the Lawyers for No campaign group.

Making particular reference to a speech by former president Mary McAleese, where she said it is a "nonsense" to think that a Yes vote could create a constitutional right to procreation using surrogacy for same-sex couples, senior counsel Shane Murphy believes the legal position of such cases remains ambiguous.

“It is accepted by both sides that if the referendum is passed, a same-sex couple will have the same constitutional rights as a married heterosexual couple including a constitutional right to procreate.

“However, the question of how such a right might be interpreted by the courts and whether it could include donor-assisted reproduction or surrogacy or both remains to be seen,” he said.


Lawyers for No

He is one of three legal practitioners, alongside William Binchy and Patrick Treacy SC, who comprise the Lawyers for No group. In a statement last week, they said a Yes vote would leave same-sex couples on an equal footing with heterosexual couples in relation to surrogacy and assisted human reproduction.

Ms McAleese was speaking at an event hosted by the LGBT body BeLonGTo earlier today, where she expressed her view that No vote would "cost our gay children everything".

Mr Murphy continued: “[Ms Mcaleese’s] statements express a certainty that is unwarranted. They purport to know and to state conclusively how the courts will interpret the effects of the proposed amendment to Article 41 in any future legal challenge or set of circumstances.

“Predictions made in such unqualified terms are not credible. No one can say with certainty what the full legal effects will be of amending our Constitution to say that the family is ‘founded’ upon the union of two people whatever their sex.”