The Irish government will consider options for creating greater equality for same sex couples, according to reports.

Irish gay group the Gay and Lesbian Equality network has welcomed the news and views it as a sign that the government may approve gay marriage laws.

The cabinet is due to consider a report commissioned by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell today.

It will assess issues of tax, inheritance and social welfare, the Evening Echo reports.

“Marriage is the full equality option” said Keith O’Malley, chief executive officer of the GLEN, “and, as well as being the fairest, most equitable way forward, it is also the easiest and fastest to enact – and the most effective.

“The choice facing the government now is about what kind of society we want Ireland to be, we are working towards a situation when being LGB is no more remarkable than being left handed and when same sex relationships are acknowledged as fully legitimate”.

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern expressed this same sentiment when, earlier this year, he said “Our sexual orientation is not an incidental attribute. It is an essential part of who we are. All citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, stand equal in the eyes of our laws. Sexual orientation cannot, and must not, be the basis of a second-class citizenship. Our laws have changed, and will continue to change, to reflect this principle”.

Recent population surveys have also shown an increase in support for same sex unions.