Ireland not ready for Gay Marriage

27 06 2008

In a radio interview this morning on Newstalk’s 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 she stated emphatically that she did not support gay marriage because Ireland wasn’t ready for gay marriage. (!)!)!)

This comes off the back of a report in today’s Irish Times which reveals that a group of Fianna Fail TDs and Senators put forward a motion demanding nothing should be included in the Bill which would in any way lessen the “special status” enjoyed by heterosexual marriage under the Constitution. Apparently 30 individuals have signed this motion which is being spearheaded by Senator Jim Walsh. In typical cowardly worm fashion the Senator was “did not return calls from the Times last night”. Too busy out sharpening his pitchfork. Cretin.

This almost put me off my morning coffee….My problems:

  1. If Ireland “isn’t ready” for gay marriage what facts do they have to support this. The majority of our EU counterparts have had civil partnership laws for gay couples for years now. We are behind the times already. How long more must we wait and who decides when we’re ready…Fianna Fail? It’s attitudes like this that gives people outside Ireland the perception that we are all going around saying “top of the morning to ya laddy” and leaving our thatched cottages via horse and cart in the mornings for a hard day toiling in the fields. The Irish Government should be focusing on getting Ireland out of recession mode rather that wasting resources debating and delaying a Bill which should have been passed years ago.
  2. If there is any debate around this issue it should be why doesn’t Ireland take a leading stance in Europe on this issue as it did with the Smoking Ban and move to give same sex couples TRULY equal rights and bring in same sex marriage…no doubt Senator Walsh would burst a vessel at the thoughts of such folly!
  3. It’s a miracle I got to work unscathed this morning as I was blinded from the light emitted from the halo’s of all the heterosexuals with “special status”. Could a more derogatory phrase have been used? I don’t think so. This demotes same-sex couples to a standing below the general populous and thus is a deeply prejudiced remark. Where are all the other politicians. Why has no-one spoken out against such comments. Surely it would be an ideal opportunity for Opposition Parties to earn some brownie points?

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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.