Main | Tuesday, November 05, 2013

IRELAND: Same-Sex Marriage To Be Put To Public Referendum In May 2015

The Irish government today announced the date for a public referendum on same-sex marriage.
At their meeting today, Ministers accepted the recommendation of Minister for Justice Alan Shatter that they should follow the advice of the Constitutional Referendum and put the issue of same-sex marriage to the people. It is now expected that same sex marriage and a number of other proposed constitutional changes including a reduction in the voting age to 17 will be put to the electorate in May 2015. This morning, Tanáiste Eamon Gilmore said it was important that the Government “win” any referendum on same-sex marriage. “It is important that we win this referendum. It is an important issue and we know from referenda on social issues before that it is important to do some preparation before the referendum is held,” he said on his way into the Cabinet meeting this morning.
In April the Irish Constitutional Convention voted overwhelmingly to call for the referendum, which is the only mechanism by which same-sex marriage can be legalized. A recent poll showed that 75% of the Irish public would vote in favor. More from the Guardian:
The Catholic church has not announced whether it intends to run a campaign for a no vote. The church hierarchy's temporal power in Ireland has been dramatically diluted during the last decade owing to a series of paedophile priest scandals. A Church of Ireland's pro-LGBT group, Changing Attitude Ireland, welcomed the referendum and challenged all the churches not to oppose it. Dr Richard O'Leary, the chairman of CAI, said: "The government's intention to hold a referendum to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples will facilitate discussion and challenge the ignorance, especially in the churches, of the positive experiences of same-sex relationships.
Activists note that delaying the referendum until 2015 gives the government time to settle related legislation such as the Children and Family Bill, which establishes the rights of gay parents.

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