Ireland may follow the UK in changing the law to allow gay marriages.

Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell met with gay rights campaigners in Dublin following the first marriages in Britain and announced the creation of a government committee to examine the case for gay marriages.

“Our view is that the centre of gravity in Ireland has shifted,” Mr McDowell told the gathering, “Irish people know that being fair to everyone in the community is good for the community.”

Mr McDowell also voiced his support for changes to adoption laws saying that gay and lesbians are “as good or as bad as heterosexual parents.”

Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) chairperson said that changing the law was long overdue: “We are arguing for equality of rights and responsibilities in relationships, we are arguing for civil marriages.This is the last measure to finally declare lesbians and gay men are full and equal citizens in Ireland.”

The Republic of Ireland was one of the last Western European countries to legalise homosexuality in 1992.