A gay married couple has been unable to secure citizenship for their daughter in three different countries.
Sinéad Deevy of Ireland and Kashka Sankowska of Poland were living in Ireland together when they decided to have a child. Because the IVF process was too expensive there, they left the country on a “temporary basis” to pursue it elsewhere.
First, they went to Sankowska’s native Poland, where she tried to get pregnant for four years. They later continued trying in Spain because it’s “very liberal and open” when it comes to gay parents.
In 2017, Sankowska became pregnant, and in 2018, she and Deevy got married. Less than three months later, their daughter Sofia was born.
Eager to finally return home as a family, Sankowska and Deevy applied for Irish citizenship for their daughter. They didn’t foresee any problems, as Deevy is Irish, and Irish law legally recognizes both same-sex parents on a child’s birth certificate.
But apparently, this legislation doesn’t apply to babies born abroad. The couple received a letter informing them that Sofia is not considered an Irish citizen because her birth mother, Sankowska, isn’t Irish. The letter cited the Irish Nationality and Citizenship 1956 Act.
Next, they tried to apply for citizenship for Sofia in Poland. But Poland doesn’t recognize birth certificates with same-sex parents at all.
As a last resort, they attempted to get Sofia citizenship in Spain, where she was born. They were told that the process could take up to four years because they’re a gay couple.
For now, the family has returned to Poland because they can’t afford to live in Spain any longer. They often fear for their safety.
“There is a strong anti-gay movement supported by the current government,” Sankowska told The Irish Times. “We wouldn’t be openly affectionate on the street with each other, especially when Sofia is with us. We would definitely be scared.”
They’ve contacted government ministers in Ireland for help with citizenship, but thus far, they’ve been unable to resolve the issue.
“Right now we feel we’ve been abandoned with no support from the Irish Government,” Deevy said. “Our daughter is stateless, she doesn’t exist… There’s no equality in this.”
She added: “The Irish public believes all gay people have the same rights as straight people now, but we don’t. Nobody asks any questions to straight couples when their children are born abroad to an anonymous donor.”
They are requesting an emergency Irish passport for their daughter so they can go home.