62 FAMILY LIFE
The recent referendum on same-sex marriage brought up plenty of debate on family life and the “new normal”. Consultant psychologist DR NICOLA DAVIES looks at the latest studies to see how children fare in a non-traditional family unit.
n May, Ireland legalised same-sex marriage via a national referendum, the first to do so by popular vote. We joined the ranks of several other nations, which include Argentina, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, UK, and Uruguay. On June 26th, the United States became the 21st country to legalise same-sex marriage as the result of a US Supreme Court decision that ruled that the denial of marriage licenses and recognition to same-sex couples violated the Due Process and
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Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. The reality of non-traditional families is becoming more commonplace and is often referred to as the ‘new normal.’ In 2013, there were 13,000 samesex couples raising children in the UK. According to the peer support group, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Helpline, there are no official figures as yet on the number of LGBTheaded families in Ireland; however, many LGBT persons are already parents and an increasing
number of others are planning to start a family. Non-traditional households don’t only include families with lesbian mothers and gay fathers, but also those with parents who have sought assistance with having children in the form of embryo, sperm or egg donation, in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and surrogacy. Indeed, The Institut Marques, a leading Spanish fertility centre, report that since 2011, increasing numbers of single Irish women have been flying to Barcelona to receive fertility treatment.