Senator accused of “insulting” the language of same-sex parents and mothers of children born through surrogacy


A senator has been accused of using “inflammatory” and “offensive” language by same-sex parents and mothers of children born through surrogacy.

Haron Keogan, an independent senator, was asked to leave an Oireachtas committee on international surrogacy Thursday morning after a heated argument between politicians. Ms Keogan has written to the committee chair to complain after she was called a bigot and asked to review her “Christian values”.

Ms Keogan told witnesses in the committee that she didn’t believe it was “everybody’s right to have a child”. Ms. Keogan spoke as the committee considering regulating international surrogacy heard from the Assisted Human Reproduction Coalition. The coalition includes representatives from LGBT+ families, families with disabilities and those experiencing infertility.

“Now I’m probably one of the relegated [sic] and I wholeheartedly oppose the commercialization of the human child and the regimentation of women to the status of simple incubators or surrogate mothers. It doesn’t matter if you’re straight, single, lesbian, gay or trans,” Ms. Keogan said.

“I believe surrogacy is harmful, exploitative and unethical. I don’t think everyone has the right to have a child. It is a privilege to give birth to a child and it can be dangerous for even those with the best medical care.”

In response, Elaine Cohalan, a member of the coalition and chair of Equality for Children, told Ms Keogan that she uses “inflammatory language” against same-sex parents.

“I think it’s really important that you, as committee members, reflect on your responsibility to conduct the surrogacy debate in a respectful and dignified manner. Seditious language and the use of undefined terms do not benefit the debate.”

“Our members are ordinary people who, in some cases, have had harrowing experiences. We do our best to be good parents to our beloved children. We are Irish citizens, your constituents and you are our representatives.”

Ms Cohalan said that as a member of the LGBTQ+ community who witnessed the marriage equality referendum, she witnessed riotous language about “if people like me are worthy, if we matter, if we can be trusted”.

“Seditious language only fuels fear and suspicion,” she said.

Irish Families Through Surrogacy’s Claire Merrigan told Senator Keogan that she was “offensive”.

“I talk to my kids about their surrogate every day. They know who she is… hopefully they will meet soon,” Ms Merrigan said.

The meeting was adjourned shortly after after a dispute broke out between Lynn Ruane, the independent senator, and Ms Keogan. Ms Ruane said Ms Keogan had a “personal bigotry” against surrogacy, which Ms Keogan opposed.

“I think you’ll find that you are, and you might want to review your Christian values ​​as well,” Ms. Ruane said. “You are rough and you are cold.”

Ms Keogan accused the committee of being an “echo chamber”. The meeting was halted after she told Gearoid Kenny Moore, a representative of the Irish Gay Dads, that he was “lucky” to be on the committee, referring to a conversation that had taken place in a private meeting.

After the meeting resumed, Ms Keogan was asked to apologize to Mr Kenny Moore. When she tried again to discuss a conversation that had taken place in a private session, she was asked to leave the committee by Kathleen Funchion, the Sinn Féin TD, who was the meeting’s acting chair.

Ms Keogan has since questioned the comments made against her. In a letter to Jennifer Whitmore, the committee chair, Ms Keogan said she disagreed with claims she had used inflammatory language “not at all”.

“A member of the committee then labeled me ‘fanatic,’ ‘rude,’ ‘cold,’ and that I should ‘examine my Christian values’ as I walk through the door,” Ms. Keogan wrote.

“I would like to object to this deeply personal attack on me during a public meeting, alleging that the language used by the member was inflammatory, discriminatory and attempted to unfairly characterize me and my contribution.”

The independent senator said she didn’t think it was appropriate to use the term bigot in a parliamentary setting, and she also objected to references to her religion. Senator accused of “insulting” the language of same-sex parents and mothers of children born through surrogacy

Fry Electronics Team

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