Two dads in Toronto have spoken out – after they were stunned to find a photo of them being used by a candidate in Ireland who opposes surrogacy “for men”.
The photo was snapped of partners BJ Barone and Frank Nelson, after their son Milo was delivered via a surrogate in Toronto two years ago.
The photo of the family went viral at the time, and they received thousands of messages of support from around the world.
However, they were stunned to find a Parliamentary candidate in Ireland was using the image without permission to rally against LGBT rights.
Independent candidate for Kerry Mary Fitzgibbon had posted the image to her Facebook alongside a picture of a mother and baby.
She wrote: “Where does your #GE16 candidate stand in respect of #surrogacy4men? #no2surrogacy”
Astoundingly, the candidate refused to take the post down despite complaints from the men and photographer Lindsay Foster – and the pictures remain online.
The pair told: “[The photo] became famous because of the beauty in the image and then somehow that beauty and that intimate moment for us is being taken and being used against us and the gay community.
They told: “I think the photo speaks for itself: the expression on Frank’s face says nothing but love.”
“It is love that makes a family, not a mother or a father. If everyone had as much love as Milo does in his life, the world would be a much happier place.
“Everyone should have the right to marry and have children. Love is love.”
Ms Fitzgibbon said she believes that surrogacy is “a loss that is planned in advance of its creation, imposed at birth, and which the child will have to endure for the rest of its life”.
Despite her best efforts, Fitzgibbon failed to win election to the Dáil. She attracted just 752 votes out of 79,273, finishing 14th out of 16 candidates.