Westlife singer Mark Feehily has won an award for his campaigning to change surrogacy laws in Ireland
The British Diversity Awards hosted by June Sarpong and Mark collected the award for global recognition for diversity.
The singer is very private when it comes to his family, bringing home daughter, Layla with his husband, Caillean O’Neal in 2019 from a surrogacy arrangement.
As it stands in Ireland, only the biological parent can have guardianship over the child. The other parent can apply for guardianship after two years.
Mark has been campaigning for Ireland to both parents to be given recognition under law, calling it ‘vital and crucial’.
He told RTE: “The medical implications of the current status of the legislation – hypothetically speaking you could end up in dark murky waters if you were unlucky enough – it’s really important in say emergency services situation for a parent to sign a consent form for surgery to be done.
“For couples in our position, even something like bringing out child in for their jabs, like everyone does, and you’re worrying if so-and-so’s name isn’t down as a parent are they going to turn me away in front of everyone in the waiting room?
“That’s a very stress thing and there’s a lot of stuff like that in day-today life that people in out position – especially the parent who’s sort of let out by the law; they’ll be constantly worried about that.”
On collecting the award, Mark said he felt it was an incredible honour.
He said: “This is an incredible honour and the most meaningful award I have collected in my career.
“I mean, I’ve won awards for my music and awards with Westlike but this is something very special.
“I am proud and I hope it goes some way towards highlighting the issues still faced by the LGBT+ families who want to start families of their own.
“There is still a lot to do and out work will not stop until we have achieve full equality.”
Are you a same sex couple on a surrogacy journey? We’d love to hear your story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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