Civil Partnership Bill Outline Unveiled in Ireland

24 06 2008

Same sex couples in Ireland have been waiting years for action from the Government on legislation in relation to civil partnerships. The first hint at positive action came today when the Government today approved the Heads of a Civil Partnership bill which, according to Dermot Ahern (Justice Minister) shows that the Government recognises the ‘‘many forms of relationships in modern society”. The Bill provides “for Civil Partnership Registration for same-sex couples, it will also provide certainty as to the status of cohabitation agreements, and a legal safety-net to people living in long term relationships who may otherwise be very vulnerable at the end of a relationship, whether through break-up or through bereavement.”

Driven by Senator David Norris (the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in Ireland), this Bill has been stalled since 2005. At that time the Government was criticised for attempting to kick the Civil Partnership Bill to the curb. They moved at a late stage to publish an ammendemnt to the Bill, thus grinding the process to a near halt. Senator Sheila Terry of the Fine Gael party stated that “It was clear that the Government wanted to stymie debate and delay the move towards equality.”

The Irish Government have been painfully slow to act on this issue leaving Ireland trailing the rest of Europe in terms of rights of legally recognising the relationships of same-sex couples. Other counties have had civil partnership legislation with several years, for example France (since 1999), Germany (since 2001) and even our nearest neighbour, the UK (since 2005). Despite the fact that this Bill is a step in the right direction it cannot be considered “equality” as under this bill same-sex couples won’t have the full right to marry due to the fact such rights “wouldn’t pass muster” under the Constitution according to Ahern.

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) welcomed the Bill but highlighted the fact that it does not provide legal protection for same-sex couples and their children. In a press release today Kieran Rose of GLEN stated “The proposals in the Heads of Bill however, do not provide for legal recognition of the many same-sex couples, particularly women, who are parenting children together, leaving these parents and their children outside the protection of the State”

This “Heads of Bill” is essentially an outline of what the government proposes to bring forward and in the coming months the Government will engage in consultation with other groups on this issue. It is hoped that a bill will go through the Dail (the Irish parliament) later this year.

Progress…but the wheels of Government are turning as if powered by a geriatric homophobic hamster.


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3 responses

27 06 2008
Ireland not ready for Gay Marriage « Mustard on the Hedge

[…] Breakfast Show, a Fianna Fail Senator (name escapes me now) stated that she supported the proposed Bill on Civil Partnership which would give equal rights to gay couples in terms of inheritance tax, taxation, etc. However […]

10 07 2008
Ireland not ready for Gay Marriage | Mustard On The Hedge

[…] Breakfast Show, a Fianna Fail Senator (name escapes me now) stated that she supported the proposed Bill on Civil Partnership which would give equal rights to gay couples in terms of inheritance tax, taxation, etc. However […]

22 07 2008
Mustard on the Hedge » Ireland not ready for Gay Marriage

[…] Breakfast Show, a Fianna Fail Senator (name escapes me now) stated that she supported the proposed Bill on Civil Partnership which would give equal rights to gay couples in terms of inheritance tax, taxation, etc. However […]

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