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Irish gay marriage advocates claim massive public support

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  1. Question…

    if I were to get married in Belgium, the Netherlands, or Spain where I live now, my boyfriend will become my husband.

    The Irish government promises to recognise unions from the above states, however, will my husband in Spain, be my husband in Ireland?

    As for a referendum on this issue, I studied law, no referendum is necessary in my opinion however, if one were to be held, then expect a rerun of Prop 8 from California.

  2. Mihai Bucur 26 Feb 2009, 2:08pm

    re martin: Indeed, polls on the issue of gay marriage often tend to overstate support, particularly when it comes to voting in referenda. However, I believe that, in a few years, it may be possible to pass a referendum changing the Constitution in order to explicitly allow gay marriage. Public support is now at 62%; if it reaches the high 60s or even 70%, I think it would be quite safe to say that a referendum on this issue would pass (and this would be quite a groundbreaking endorsement of gay marriage, much better than if just the parliament passes a law or the courts order gay marriage).

    As to the whether a referendum is necessary, I think that would be up to the courts and their political orientation. Article 41 of the Constitution does not explicitly mention either gay marriage or the genders of spouses. Thus, unlike post-Prop 8 California or some countries such as Serbia, the Irish Constitution does not explicitly prevent gay marriage. However, a conservative court (and I don’t know the current political orientation of the Irish High Court) could interpret same-sex marriage as an “attack” on the institution of marriage under Article 41, subsection 3(1), a breach of the State’s duty to “guard with special care the institution of Marriage”, and thus unconstitutional.

  3. Mihai Bucur 26 Feb 2009, 2:14pm

    Oh, and for those who want to do some further reading on this topic, here is the link to the full report/survey results by MarriagEquality:

  4. I don’t think this is a matter which should even be voted on. If votes on a basic human right are allowed, what should be voted on next?

    I wish the Irish LGBT people the best of luck. However a question arises: if Ireland supposedly accepts marriaes/unions from countries where they are performed, why can there not be marriaes in Ireland itself. Oh, I know–the Catholic Church.

  5. Simon Murphy 26 Feb 2009, 3:56pm

    The Irish government is lying when it claims that a referendum would be required to allow gay marriage. Fair enough the constitution refers to married couples as a man and a woman. However in 1990 when Mary Robinson was successfully elected Irish President no referendum was required to allow her hold this position despite the fact that the constitution refers to the president as ‘he’ throughout. The constitution is meant to be a living document and is meant to be flexible rather than a hard and fast set of literal rules. It is just the ruling Fianna Fail party is opposed to equality. That is annoying but unsurprising as this is only to be expected from them. The real disgrace is the Green Paty. The manner in which they betrayed the gay community by pretending to be in favour of gay marriage before the last general election only to abandon this when they entered into coalition is a matter of enormous shame for them. Whenever the next general election is held gay people need to hold the Greens to account for their betrayal. If they are so willing to abandon their alleged commitment to equality for gay people then they shouldn’t be trusted on any issue – including environmental protection.

  6. Simon Murphy 26 Feb 2009, 4:03pm

    As for the claim that 62% of people support marriage equality. Well if it came to a vote I expect the pro-gay marriage lobby would lose by a long way. The christian right in Ireland is a minor movement but they are extraordinarily effective in raising fear and division in these type of discussions. In 1986 when the 1st divorce referendum was held they won the vote despite the fact that 80% of the electorate was in favour of divorce only 6 months earlier. In 1996 when the 2nd divorce referendum was held a massive 85% were in favour of divorce 6 months before the vote. Thanks to the christian rights campaign the referendum was nearly lost again – they ran a vile, advertising campaign ‘Mummy – why has Daddy gone away’ to convince people that divorce would mean that men would never see their children. I can’t imagine the horrors they would bring to the debate on the matter of gay marriage.

  7. Mihai Bucur: I agree with you. If a challenge was launched to stop a referendum, the courts would have to decide, of course. But they would need to ask the question, what is marriage in Ireland? There is no clear definition in our constitution. thus, my argument that a referendum is not legally necessary.

    Fianna Fail, are not against equality, they don’t want to antagonise the Church or the Conservative elements of Irish society. They have enough problems as it is, with the economy and they are already in hot water over civil partnerships.

    As Simon has pointed out, the small Christian right mobilise, no when they believe that they are under attack. I said a rerun of Prop 8 for a reason. Because like the 2 abortion referenda and the divorce ones also, a referendum on gay marriage would be extremely nasty and bitter.

    and to quote his good self: “I can’t imagine the horrors they would bring to the debate on the matter of gay marriage.”

  8. Robert, ex-pat Brit 26 Feb 2009, 8:09pm

    Martin, unfortunately no, your husband, if you married him in Spain would not be recognized as such if you both lived in Ireland or the UK for that matter. In the UK your legal marriage would not be recognised as such but only as a civil partnership. The UK government refuses to read a legal marriage certificate of a same-sex couple for what it actually is, absurd and ridiculous of course, but then its the UK. It is however quite capable to read “certificate of marriage” when it comes to a straight married couple of course. Its incredible, isn’t it?

  9. I actually do think that if a referendum were to be held, then a majority of the Irish population would vote in favour of gay marriage. Everyone seems to think that Ireland is very conservative, which I think we are not. We are very Catholic orientated, but that doesn’t mean we don’t support gay marriage if you understand. We don’t seem to have any real organised threat against gay marriage as in US states, with many family coaliations etc.

  10. What’s wit the scottish kilt in the picture? can’t find a stereotypical irish pic?

  11. Simon Murphy 27 Feb 2009, 11:26am

    Anon – Christian Family Coalitions DO exist in Ireland. They are tiny groups (maybe a couple of hundred members in each group) but they are extra-ordinarily well organised and well funded (receiving massive monetary support from the christian facist groups in the US). Despite their tiny numbers they have been amazingly successful in the past at convincing Irish people to vote the way they would like. Their names change (SPUC; Youth Defence to name 2) and they never reference or emphasise their hardline christian facism. Their methods involve convincing people that by voting FOR divorce for example they are in fact voting to deny fathers access to their children (when this bears zero relevance to child custody matters). Once the election is over these sinister little groups disappear only to reemerge when there appears to be a threat to their agenda. Gay marriage absolutely would fit into this. There should NOT be a referendum on gay marriage. Knowing these groups of christian facists I absolutely believe that they would twist the issue into something vile. The Irish constitution does not need to be changed to introduce equality. Therefore the government should legislate for it.

  12. Simon Murphy 27 Feb 2009, 11:28am

    As for the kilt – since when has that been uniquely Scottish – it’s worn in Northern Ireland as a traditional costume as well.

  13. Patrick, Dublin 1 Mar 2009, 6:22pm

    Ireland is far more liberal that many outsiders suppose. We are essentially like Spain these days. Socially progressive, but still pretty Catholic, even though the church’s authority thankfully all but collapsed in the 1990s amidst child abuse scandal after scandal.

    I’d say a majority of Irish people would suppost equality for gays. The joke of a government however are really dragging their feet on the issue, political cowards that they are. The sooner they are replaced the better.

  14. Tim Roll-Pickering 1 Mar 2009, 6:40pm

    If Ireland is that liberal, when will it allow a women the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion without having to leave the country? It will take rather more than Fianna Fail applying to be a member of the European-wide Liberal grouping to show the country is more liberal.

  15. Irishgay: don’t worry, the editorial team have used this picture hundreds of times. If it’s any consolation, they have used it to accompany stories about English legal rulings, too.

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