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Ireland, Same-Sex Marriage, And Surrogacy: Connecting The Dots

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At first blush, the issues of same-sex marriage and surrogacy don’t seem to have too great a connection. However, in Ireland, a public debate illustrates how closely these issues are related, and it isn’t good.

In May, same-sex marriage became legal in Ireland by public vote. In the days before the vote, major news sources noted that “fears” of surrogacy would sink the vote for same-sex marriage, even though surrogacy is not legal in Ireland. The question raised is: Do people have a right to procreate or, more importantly, have children? Christopher White explains:

The confusion can be traced back to a 1991 case, Murray v. Ireland, in which the high court effectively held that there is a constitutional right to procreate. While many on both sides of the referendum argued that this decision was referring to natural procreation, the decision has already been used to promote donor conception. It’s understandable, then, that many were fearful that a “yes” vote would open the floodgates to a practice that many Irish voters do not support. Mothers and Fathers Matter—the leading civic group opposing the same-sex marriage referendum—launched a campaign that papered the country with ads and posters of a young, concerned toddler with the following slogan: “Surrogacy?: She Needs Her Mother For Life, Not Just For Nine Months. Vote No.”

Even those in the gay community don’t agree on surrogacy. Fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana – both homosexual – made international headlines when they spoke out against surrogacy. Lesbian activist Julie Blindel recently wrote in the British press:

The accelerating boom in surrogacy for gay couples is no victory for freedom or emancipation. On the contrary, it represents a disturbing slide into the brutal exploitation of women who usually come from the developing world and are often bullied or pimped into selling their wombs to satisfy the selfish whims of wealthy gay or lesbian westerners. This cruelty is accompanied by epic hypocriSosy. People from Europe and the USA who would shudder at the idea of involvement in human or sex trafficking have ended up indulging in a grotesque form of ‘reproductive trafficking’.

One U.S. surrogacy organization gleefully admits that same-sex marriage is a boon to their industry.

The Supreme Court decision also arrived at the same time Extraordinary Conceptions was offering its $1,250 new summer surrogate signing bonus until July 31, 2015. Surrogates have the potential to earn $32,000 to $60,000 for an unforgettable memory, especially if they want to carry a baby for a gay man or couple.

What a celebratory moment this is — a historic victory for the gay rights movement and new surrogates can be part of it.

So, when the dots are connected between same-sex marriage and parenthood, what we end up with is a picture that often includes surrogacy. And surrogacy is nothing more than trafficking in human beings. A person is created for sale and use by other human beings. That’s trafficking … and that’s wrong.

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Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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