Press Release | Marriage Equality Referendum ‘No’ Campaigners: Stop Using and Abusing Lone Parents

Press Release

Marriage Equality Referendum ‘No’ Campaigners:

Stop Using and Abusing Lone Parents

(Dublin, Friday 17 April 2015) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating – is dismayed by the untruths being promoted by many main ‘No’ campaigners in the lead up to the Marriage Equality Referendum on 22 May. One Family rejects the suggestion that people parenting alone will lose rights if the Referendum is passed and notes the extensive evidence-base showing that children do just as well in one-parent families as married two-parent families when sufficient resources are in place.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, responds: “As an organisation which has worked with and for people parenting alone and sharing parenting for over 40 years, we know that successful outcomes for children are not determined by the form their family takes. What matters, and what all reputable research shows, is that children who have positive relationships at home – whether this is with a lone parent, two parents of both or same sex, or with other supportive family members or guardians – do just as well as children from what some refer to as the ‘traditional family’.  The challenge we face in Ireland is increasing child poverty and again, research and our decades of experience show that it is living in consistent poverty that results in more negative outcomes for children, whatever their family form is.”

Karen further responds: “Campaigners stating that only a married mother and father can meet a child’s needs are not only misrepresenting facts, they are hurting any family that does not conform to their restricted ‘ideal’ and ignoring the wonderful diversity of families that already exists in Ireland. One in four families in Ireland is a one-parent family. These are wonderful families, with strong, resilient parents doing the best for their children.”

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, adds: “There have also been comments made that people who parent alone will have fewer rights if the Marriage Equality Referendum is passed or that unmarried parents are not ‘equal’. This is erroneous, untrue and has nothing to do with the referendum. All unmarried families whether headed by one or two parents will continue to remain outside the Constitution and extending rights to more people to marry will not make any difference.”

Recent research on family form as relating to outcomes for children includes:

  1. Growing up in a One-Parent Family: The relationship between family structure and child outcomes – Growing Up in Ireland: National Longitudinal Study of Children

  1. Families with a difference: the reality behind the hype – University of Cambridge

  1. Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and



About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting or separating, offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 66 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day and presents the Family Day Festival every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today ( For further information, visit

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 414 8511