Conservative politicians in Ireland’s ruling political party are seeking to thwart Tuesday’s “comprehensive” decision to allow gay and lesbian couples to legally register their relationships.

County Wexford senator Jim Walsh lodged an official motion to the Fianna Fáil party demanding that the “special status” afforded to heterosexual marriage under the Republic’s Constitution remain in place despite the proposed Civil Partnership Bill.

Between a dozen and thirty senior backbench TDs (MPs) have signed Senator Walsh’s petition, according to The Irish Times.

The Government is likely to ask the party’s justice committee to consider the motion next week at a meeting chaired by county Louth TD Séamus Kirk.

Last night a senior Senator, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Irish Times:

“I don’t see any great need to legislate in this area. I have my own views on it. Let people do what they want, but I don’t see the need to be putting things into the statute book.”

The motion’s choice of words were deliberately chosen to protect its signatories against personal and political allegations of discrimination towards same-sex couples in any way.

“The motion would have considerable support from the more conservative sections of the parliamentary party,” said another senior Senator, also speaking anonymously.

A full Bill should be ready to go before the Dail, or Irish parliament, in the autumn and made law within a year.

The Civil Partnership Bill would give gay and lesbian couples greater rights and control over pensions, inheritance and tax, but adoption rights would not be given to same-sex couples.

Family pressure group The Iona Institute added in a statement:

“Marriage is society’s way of seeking to ensure that every child is raised by a mother and a father in a committed relationship.”