Same sex couples will now have legal status for the 1st time.
2nd class status for sure.
But it’s still progress.
The glaring ommission in the Irish Bill of course is that children of gay parents are now specificially discriminated against as they have no rights against their non-biological parent. Which is a disaster for them if their biological parent dies. This is different from stepchildren and step-parents who do have rights and obligations towards each other in case the biological parent dies.
Still though, the consensus in both the LGBT population (and indeed among the political parties) is that the CP Bill is inadequate and can only ever be a stepping stone.
Civil marriage is the universally recognised goal.
The 2nd annual March for Marriage is on 22nd August in Dublin.
Last year saw 5,000 take to the streets (which is massive for a city the size of Dublin). This year will be bigger.
Onwards and upwards towards full equality.
I wonder why they bothered. What a waste of time changing all that legislation when this is not what the people or the politicians want. Why didn’t they just go straight for marriage equality?
“Why didn’t they just go straight for marriage equality?”
Because the government didn’t think it would pass because of the reference to marriage in out constitution, which can only be changed by referendum, as advised by the Irish Attorney General – but thankfully most of our politicians referenced full marriage being the ultimate goal. And flawed or not, this legislation will give welcome, overdue, and much needed protections to many couples… including myself.
This is step one on a longer road.
As an Italain, I feel very happy for the Irish people who have taken a step forward towards justice, but at the same time ashamed that my country is now THE ONLY ONE in Western Europe that doesn’t recognize to gay couples the rights they deserve.
“I wonder why they bothered.”
The government has been planning this for several years, since before the recent domino effect of all the countries legalising full marriage equality.
Like the British government they thought at the time they were being very liberal and giving the queers enough to keep them quiet.
They underestimated the angry revulsion by the LGBT population felt towards apartheid. And by the time they got round to legalising CP, they were already inadequate and offensive.
That is why pretty much all the political parties (particularly the traiterous Green Party who claim to support equality but once they entered coalition settled for CP Apartheid) are now claiming that CP’s are just a stepping stone.
The Greens will be wiped out at the next election. They received large levela of LGBT support at the last election because of their alleged support for equality. Now that they have betrayed us they will not get LGBT support at the next election (which is a lesson that the British Labour Party should remember if they keep insisting that CP Apartheid is sufficient for us).
I didn’t really understand the difference between civil partnership and marriage until the Irish bill came up for discussion and somebody used the phrase ‘stepping stone’ to the full measure of equality. And it was then that the alarm bells went off for me. Back in the 1920s, Ireland accepted a ‘stepping stone’ to a 32 county Republic and they’re still on that step today with no sign of the full measure. The historical analogy is clear. Take the compromise, yes, but still press on for the full measure. Don’t settle for less.
“Because the government didn’t think it would pass because of the reference to marriage in out constitution, which can only be changed by referendum, as advised by the Irish Attorney General”
It has not been proven that a referendum is required to introduce marriage equality. That is the EXCUSE being used by the governmemt to introduce Civil Partnership apartheid.
Equally there are legal experts who state that because the Irish Constitution specifically guarantees equal rights for all citizens, that banning same sex marriage is in fact unconstitutional itself.
What I am very disappointed about in this whole arguement is that the LGBT population seem to have swallowed the statement that there needs to be a popular vote to give us equality.
Mary Robinson did not require a referendum to be elected President in 1990, even though the constitution specificallty refers to the president as a ‘he’ throughout.
My rights should not be subject to popular vote.
When the FF / Green coalition gets thrashed in the next election we need to put MAJOR pressure on the Irish Labour Party to insist that marriage equality is a non-negotiable precondition for entering into a coalition with Fine Gael.
The CP Bill is definitely a stepping stone. I expect marriage equality in Ireland within 10 years. (Thankfully the Irish version of Stonewall – who are called GLEN – have not betrayed their constituency and clearly state that they support equality and not 2nd class CP’s).
When a new attorney general is appointed I expect that the alleged need for a referendum to grant us equality will disappear.
Civil rights should never be the subject of popular vote after all.
Halfway around the world in Hawaii we are beguiled by the notion that this will not take place until January by reason of the need for “record keeping.” If the Scriveners of Ireland are so behind in their duties, perhaps all marriages might delayed until January so that they may be able catch up with the demands of their bureaus?
> particularly the traiterous Green Party who claim to support equality but once they entered coalition settled for CP Apartheid
The word apartheid, although strictly deriving from the Afrikaan words “apart” and “heid” meaning literally separate-hood, has a loaded meaning. It represents the system in South Africa which denied basic legal rights to black South Africans – and which denied them proper citizenship, allowing their torture, abduction, murder, disenfranchisement and subjugation. The system of Civil Parternships is not “apartheid”.
If Civil Partnerships were the only option and civil marriage was not on offer, the Greens were probably not traitors in voting for it.
“The word apartheid, although strictly deriving from the Afrikaan words “apart” and “heid” meaning literally separate-hood, has a loaded meaning.”
Leaving aside the loaded meaning, civil partnership is a literal example of ‘apartheid’ though.
“It has not been proven that a referendum is required to introduce marriage equality. That is the EXCUSE being used by the government to introduce Civil Partnership apartheid.”
Actually, its not. The government will almost everyime bow to the opinion of the Attorney General, whether you like it or not is irrelevant to the facts. His direction was clear, and any further measures was at risk to a constitutional challenge, tiling this legislation up in the courts for years. This was basically following on from the 2006 judgement in the ‘KAL Case’ where the Irish High Court held that marriage as defined in the Irish Constitution was between a man and a woman. But this is academic, some people need this protection now, even if it is not complete equality. And its not a form of ‘gay heresy’ to celebrate the achievement of Ireland to have this legislation enacted.
“My rights should not be subject to popular vote.”
Perhaps not, but you need popular vote to get them passed in legislation. It’s called a parliamentary representative democratic republic, of which Ireland is. So insisting on something to be so is not going to get you anywhere. We have work to do, yes, but if you do not wish to avail of Civil Partnerships because you believe you’re entitled to more, then don’t, that is your choice… but don’t deny others the legal protection.
StephenC, I hope you’re right. The historical analogy put things in perspective for me, and helped me realise that LGBT are being fobbed off in many countries. Ten years is a long time to wait, even so. I hope it’s not so long as that.
If a referendum is needed to change the constitution, then let them get on with it. Make the question a bit clearer than it was for changing articles one and two. I had to read that several times before I understood it with a post-grad in political history. My two brothers-in-law who are joint village idiots of a small place in Sligo also have the vote and they won’t have a clue unless its kept very simple.
We have work to do, yes, but if you do not wish to avail of Civil Partnerships because you believe you’re entitled to more, then don’t, that is your choice
This sums it up really well, and youre quite right and I couldnt agree more! It is a tremendous step for in the right direction for Ireland, but if anyone doesn’t agree with civil partnerships, they are under no obligation to avail of them, and can wait for full marriage if that is what they really want. I for one will be one of the ones eagerly taking this civil partnership despite its imperfections, as it given us both the legal protection we desperately need at my age. I’m 64 and my partner is 70! Were not getting any younger, and if one of us were to die (god forbid), the remaining partner would have a huge tax bill to live in the the house we bought together 22 years ago as “freinds” in the eyes of the bank. We can’t afford to wait 2 or 5 or 10 years so some people can feel more “equal” becuase of they can have full marriage. I am equal. The law just doesn’t reflect this. But it wont chnage what I know to be true and how I feel. So, to those who moan about equality stop being so egocentric – some people really need this legislation now, and cant or wont wait until you feel “equal” before we can have our legal protections. If you dont like it, dont avail if it. Ireland will get there in the end, give her time.
” The government will almost everyime bow to the opinion of the Attorney General, whether you like it or not is irrelevant to the facts. ”
The job of the Attorney General is to interpret the Constitution on behalf of the government.
The fact that he is claiming that a referendum is required to grant gay people equality is merely his INTERPRETATION of the constitution.
In 1990, the word ‘He’ was interpreted to mean ‘he or she’ ensuring that Mary Robinson be allowed run for the Presidency of Ireland. The word ‘he’ was interpreted to be gender neutral. The constitution specifically reference the president as ‘he’ throughout. Using the current Attorney General’s skewed logic, Mary Robinson should not have been allowed to run for Presidency until after a constitutional referendum to allow her to run.
In the same manner the reference to ‘he and she’ when it relates to marriage can also be interpreted to be gender neutral.
A different Attorney General can interpret the constitution in a different manner.
As I said already there are also legal experts who say that the specific guarantee of equality for all Irish citizens, means that denying marriage equality to Irish people is in itself unconstitutional.
By the way, I’m not for a moment suggesting that the CP Apartheid Bill be abandoned.
It has already passed and will be in force by January, thereby allowing gay couples who need the protections offered within in, the opportunity to participate in their own discrimination.
However the fact remains that same sex Irish couples are still denied access to civil marriage.
And the government cannot be allowed to think that Civil Partnership Apartheid is sufficient, for those of us who actually want equality.
We should not be thankful or grateful to a government who introduced CP Apartheid solely to deny us access to marriage.
Pressure on the Labour Party is now essential, to insist to them that we expect marriage equality if they enter a coalition (and while they are at it they can appoint an Attorney General who is of the view that a popular vote to determine a minority’s rights is unnecessary and horrifically undemocratic).
And good luck to those couples who will be entering a Civil Partnership.
They are the people I hope to see most active to put pressure on the government to deliver full equality.
In a sense that partly their responsibility now.
We are all being repeatedly told that there are people who urgently require the protections of Civil Partnership Apartheid immediately.
They should be given those protections.
However their urgent need for these protections cannot be used as an excuse to deny the rest of us equality, which is what the government is plotting.
I understand the need for Civil Partnerships, but I am not grateful to the government for introducing them. It’s too little, too late.
“In 1990, the word ‘He’ was interpreted to mean ‘he or she’ ensuring that Mary Robinson be allowed run for the Presidency of Ireland. The word ‘he’ was interpreted to be gender neutral. The constitution specifically reference the president as ‘he’ throughout. Using the current Attorney General’s skewed logic, Mary Robinson should not have been allowed to run for Presidency until after a constitutional referendum to allow her to run.”
You are missing the obvious here:- As I have already stated, the High Court ruled on marriage definition. The interpretation of he meaning ‘he’ and ‘she’ has no bearing to this as the interpretation of the High Court has ruled. It must go to the supreme court or referendum to over turn that. The AG’s interpretation is correct. Passing civil marriage for same sex couples without either would almost definitely be opened to challenge by the delightful conservative nuts in out society, and a the horrendous possibility that the Supreme Court would up hold the view of the High Court, effectively enshrining marriage as man and woman in our constitution, which could only be over turned by Referendum and after a very hard fought and divisive battle. The way they’re doing it with CP’s is not ideal, I am not a fan of the Civil Partnership given it omits children and other rights, but its a stepping stone, and one that now can be built on.
And Pat, congratulations to you both. I am in the same position with my partner of over 8 years – although merely young pups compared to the obvious time you have been together :), we also have to currently face a tax bill of around €70k on our OWN home we bought together if one of us should die. This bill will remove this, as it will for you. Not to mention the obvious the pension rights and next of kin rights which would protect us from any possible contesting of our current will’s by one member of our families.
“The AG’s interpretation is correct.”
No it’s not. It’s merely his interpretation.
And his interpretation may change.
If the next AG interprets the guarantee in the constitution that all citizens should receive equal rights, to mean that same sex couples be entitled to access civil marriage, then there will be no need for a referendum to grant equality.
It is the Supreme Court who is the ultimate decider on what is constitutional. Not the government; not the Attorney General.
The Civil Partnership Apartheid Act may itself be unconstitutional; thanks to the ‘Certain Rights and responsibilities’ section. That has been argued goes against the constitution’s inheritance guarantees. Even though this section does not relate to recognition of same sex relationships; if it is found to be unconstitutional, then the entire Bill will be deemed to be unconstitutional and we’ll all be back at square 1.
The government could andn should have introduced marriage equality this time round.
They decided to opt instead for the Apartheid option.
That is a matter of great embarrassment seeing as marriage equality is the of everyone. Not civil partnership apartheid.
I’m sorry Stephen, but you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about, other than bander terms like “apartheid ” around like it means something in this case.
Its quite simple:
The High Court ruled on marriage definition.
The AG MUST go with that, and so must the government based on his advice. He has no place to over rule the High Court.
There are two options to over turn this: (1) Referendum or (2) Supreme Court.
And that’s it, angst language to the contrary, you’re understanding of law is clearly mired by angry rhetoric you seem more eager to spout. The reality is full civil same sex marriage would more then likely result in a Supreme Court upholding the High Court’s decision, and a referendum, and could put our civil rights further away then ever.
I’m not interested in whether you agree with that or not, but it happens to be the reality.
Stephen, I’m afraid Will’s interpretation of the legal situation is quite correct. I am a family law solicitor, and a friend of mine asked me to provide my opinion of this forum, as I do know a thing or two about Irish law.
As Will has stated correctly, the Attorney General advised the government based on the High Court ruling, where Ms. Justice Dunne found that “although a ‘living document’, the Irish constitution had always meant for marriage to be between a man and a woman, that the definitions used in the Civil Registration Act of 2004 was an expression of the current attitudes of the state”. She also ruled that she could find no reason to change that.
The definition will stand until overruled by Supreme Court or Referendum for the people.
If the government introduced full civil marriage for same sex couples, it would almost certainly be challenged as unconstitutional. This might lead to the Supreme Court redefining marriage as indicated in the constitution, but I see this has highly unlikely, and my guess would be the High court definition would be upheld on the basis of the original “intention” of the term as specified in the constitution relates to a “man and a woman”.
Keep in mind that in the Schalk and Kopf v Austria, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the 47 member states of the European Council are under no obligation to grant same-sex couples access to marriage, and even if it did, under the terms of Article 29 of the Constitution, any law or measure, the adoption of which is necessitated by Ireland’s membership of the European Union, may not, in principle, be invalidated by any provision of the Constitution. Which leads most legal professionals to assume the Supreme Court would more then likely rule in favour of the definition being to a “man and woman” and the only option for same sex marriage would be referendum to redefine the term.
Also, I think you use of the term “apartheid option” in relation to the Civil Partnership Bill is most disingenuous and somewhat offensive to those who wish to partake of it.
“If the government introduced full civil marriage for same sex couples, it would almost certainly be challenged as unconstitutional.”
And isn’t is also almost 100% guaranteed that the Civil Partnership Bill will itself be challenged as unconstitutional because of the ‘Certain Rights and Obligations’ section of the Bill; as this section of the Bill is in opposition to the constitution as it relates to inheritance and succession?
Even though this section of the Bill does not relate to same sex couples; if this section of the CP Bill is found to be unconstitutional then won’t the entire Bill be deemed unconstitutional, leaving everyone back at square 1. Meaning that those people who have entered a CP could actually have the protections that they think they have, reversed?
The President did not refer the CP Bill to the Supreme Court to test its constitutonality.
I hope the fundies challenge the Bill as soon as it becomes law. This will mean that if the Bill is itself found to be unconstitutional then the government will be left with no choice but to hold a referendum.
And also what about my point about the clause in the Irish Constitution which guarantees equal rights for all citizens? Does this clause not mean, that citing the other clauses of the constitution which define marriage as being between 1 man and 1 woman to deny marriage equality to same sex couples is in fact unconstitutional?
“Also, I think you use of the term “apartheid option” in relation to the Civil Partnership Bill is most disingenuous and somewhat offensive to those who wish to partake of it.”
Perhaps but Civil Partnership is almost a textbook example of Apartheid in its literal meaning. Civil Partherships are offensive to those of us who support full equality, so I’m sure no-one will be offended by my use of the word Apartheid.
It is offensive to ask those of us who support equality and who regard ourselves as equal citizens to wait another generation to be granted equality to satisfy the immediate requirements of a certain segment of our community.
The government SHOULD and COULD have legislated for equality.
Instead they opted for an Apartheid regime which specifically discriminates against those children with gay parents.
They cannot be allowed to get away with that.
If all the political parties (and GLEN) say that CP’s are merely a ‘stepping stone’ to full equality; then that is good.
It means there is a consensus that Civil Partnerships do not grant equality and that there are therefore inadequate (even more inadequate than the CP system in the UK thanks to the specific discrmination against the children of gay parents in the Irish version).
What is the suggested timetable that GLEN has for full equality?
What is the timetable that the traitorous Green Party has for full equality?
What is the timetable that the Irish Labour Party has for full equality.
If (as is almost universally recognised) that CP’s are unequal and inadequate then to ask us to ‘be patient’ without giving a timetable is a revoltingly offensive request.
GLEN need to stay on top of this.
They risk thrashing their own legacy and reputation (in the same manner than Stonewall UK has already thrashed its legacy and reputation) by ignoring people’s very real and very valid desire to be treated equally and fairly in the eyes of the law.
“I hope the fundies challenge the Bill as soon as it becomes law. This will mean that if the Bill is itself found to be unconstitutional then the government will be left with no choice but to hold a referendum.”
Wrong. It would be put on the long finger. Civil marriage is not a priority for the government. They still haven’t legislated on the constitutional Referendum of 2002 on permissible abortions, what makes you think this would happen any quicker?
“Perhaps but Civil Partnership is almost a textbook example of Apartheid in its literal meaning.”
In your head only, where anger seems to cloud your judgement and rationale. Calling it “apartheid” doesn’t make it so or everyone agree with you. In fact, your lack of rationale causes the opposite.
“GLEN need to stay on top of this.”
Apart form ranting and calling it “apartheid”, what are YOU doing to make it happen????
You have been proven wrong by expert opinion, thanks to Mr. Higgins contribution above, yet you persist on sticking to the same tired and stupid rhetoric. Believe what you want, its irrelevant. You are clearly no one of stature, understanding or influence in these matters, otherwise you’d be capable of more logical discourse.
“In your head only”
Actually the word ‘Apartheid’ is a Dutch word means ‘separateness’. Civil Partnership legislation is clearly a piece of ‘separate and not quite equal’ legislation.
The fact that you are confusing the word with the South African regime is your issue.
Civil Partnership fits the literal definition of ‘apartheid’ perfectly.
‘what are YOU doing to make it heppen.’
Well I’ve been in touch with all my TD’s to tell them that they wlll not be getting my vote if they do not come out in favour if equality.
I’ll be on the March for Marriage in August.
I’m waiting to hear a response to my query about whether or not the clause in the Irish constitution specifically guaranteeing equal rights for all citizens in fact makes the ban on marriage equality unconstitutional.
If that is the case then no referendum is necessary and marriage equality could be legalised within a year.
What are you doing to ensure we get equality?
Or are you one of those people, happy to condemn the next generation of Irish queers to 2nd class citizenship, because your own personal circumstances are resolved?
I hope not as that would be selfish in the extreme.
If there is a genuine requirement for a referendum (and I don’t accept that this is a requirement, I think it’s being used as an excuse) then the campaign should be to get that referendum as soon as possible ie not waiting 20 years!
If I am angry at being regarded as a 2nd class citizen, then I am fully justified in being angry.
Civil Partnership Apartheid is wrong. End of story.
What is GLEN’s timetable for Equality and what are their immediate plans to make it happen?
You have been proven wrong by expert opinion, thanks to Mr. Higgins contribution above
Will, ignore that fool. Stephen here is typical of angry little halfwits that regular frequent this site with their half baked little tirades.
The definition of a fool is someone who says something wrong, and after being corrected, just keeps on going. Funnily enough, he think others are selfish when he is trying to being down the rights of those others to avail of civil partnerships. I doubt he’s smart enough to see the irony of that.
Philip’s post has said it all, coming from someone who certainly seems to know what he’s talking about. Stephen is just like an angry child with a stupid me-me attitude and obvious inferior knowledge on legal subjects. And most intelligent people thankfully ignore that sort of puerile behaviour.
Ignore him. Most people on this site tend to.
“You have been proven wrong by expert opinion, thanks to Mr. Higgins contribution above”
While I am delighted that your abilities to cut and paste my erudite comments, I question you ability to read and comprehend them, clearly your education is as limited as your ability for rational (and calm) thought.
If I my quote Philip:
- “As Will has stated correctly, the Attorney General advised the government based on the High Court ruling”
- “Stephen, I’m afraid Will’s interpretation of the legal situation is quite correct.”
Ergo, you are proven wrong. Lets see if you can move past that.
I am tending to agree with Dean here, you are clearly a fool (as he quite rightly put it), as you fail to understand even the basic nuances of Irish Law, and yet you keep on banding the drum EVEN when shown your error.
Its people like you who are a true embarrassment of the gay scene and gay people in Ireland, angry little queens with persecution complexes inversely proportioned to your intelligence level.
I will converse with you no further on this. You Stephen, are a buffoon of the highest magnitude, and I tend to consider buffoons as beneath contempt.
But by all means rant away, if it makes you feel a little better about your ignorance, what harm can it do, eh?
Good day to you.
Stephen, your attitude is truly appalling. Philip and Will simply, and politely I might add, tried to point our where you were wrong, and for that you accuse them of trying to “condemn the next generation of Irish queers to 2nd class citizenship, because your own personal circumstances are resolved”
I find that attitude offensive and baffling. How dare you refer to my 34 year relationship with my partner as “2nd class citizenship”!!! If you do not want CP then don’t use them, I couldn’t care less if you don’t, you’re probably not even in a relationship anything near what parallels mine! So take your head out of the clouds and wake up to the fact that others do not see this as “2nd class citizenship”, they see it for what it is, a progressive stop towards protecting the rights of couples.
I’m also guessing by your tantrums you’re not as old as I am, going by your posts. You think you have a battle for equality on your hands? Try living as a gay man in Ireland in 1960′s. And you have the audacity to tell me that I should feel “2nd class” with my partner after all I have been trough to keep our relationship alive and prospering for 34 years?????
You have a lot of growing up to do, Stephen. And perhaps a good course in anger management might help you. I feel really sorry for you.
It is now finally law!
Now all of Western Europe from today (with the exception of pope loving Italy) legally recognizes same sex relationships in some form or another!!!!
This is a great day for this long overdue legislation!!!
Forget about gay marriage for a second –
Why was adoption, surrogacy and other parentage rights left out of the civil partnerships legislation (even though the UK just next door has fully included them)?????
Remember nowhere in the world went from nothing to gay marriage straight away.
You must have “unregistered cohabitation”, “domestic partnerships”, “co-living associate”, “civil partnerships”, “civil unions” or “registered partnerships” first – before you have gay marriage!!!!!!
You always must take progressive baby steps first, even though I know it is an annoying “second class” citizenship.
Equality means EXACTLY that – EQUALITY!!!!!
Remember in Ireland gay sex was illegal until 1993.
Norway, Iceland and Sweden had “registered partnerships” since 1990’s – and now they all have gay marriage today because of the progressive nature of reforms!!! Luxembourg, Nepal in Asia and Finland will be next for gay marriage! Slovenia and Albania proposing to allow gay marriage was a complete and utter hoax – because no country in Eastern Europe will ever have gay marriage I can assure you of that!!!!
Denmark does not have gay marriage because of a fascist right-wing conservative government. By the way mind you Denmark was the first country in whole world in 1989 to provide “registered partnerships” – now 33 jurisdictions across the world do now have some form of recognition of same sex relationships in 2010!!
Vermont in the US was the first in the world to use the term “civil unions” in 2000 – that’s 10 years ago!!!
Now Ireland, the UK, New Jersey in the US, some parts of Brazil and the ACT in Australia has civil partnerships or civil unions. Three states in Australia namely NSW (where I am from), Victoria and Tasmania. California, Oregon, Nevada, Wisconsin, Maine, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Washington State (not to be confused with the District of Columbia) all have domestic partnerships
Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Australia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Austria,
10 countries have gay marriage now [namely Argentina, Spain, Iceland, Norway, Belgium, Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal (without adoption and parentage rights) and Canada and South Africa], never in my widest dreams this would ever happen – but it did!!!
Belgium did not provide adoption and parentage equality until 3 years after gay marriage, it will happen for Portugal in time I am sure of it! Portugal’s constitution prohibits the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (as does South Africa, Cayman Islands, Ecuador, Sweden, Switzerland, Bolivia, and some states in Germany and Brazil).
Fiji did have sexual orientation written in its constitution – but the whole of the constitution was repealed last year after another typical pathetic and undemocratic military coup.
Most people pay little heed to StephenC, he’s some backwater muppet from the west of Ireland with a chip on his shoulder the size of achill island. He tends to take an extremist and totally irrational approach to everything concerning gay people if his other comments on this site are anything to go by. Its the usual “I’m gay I deserve it and if you don’t agree with me your homophobic” nonsense. He needs a good slap in the chops and a lesson in basic manners, so don’t feel bad boys, you tried – pity such good efforts were wasted on a gobsh!te.
The legal definition of marriage must be amended to a gender neutral one before same sex marriages can become a reality and there is no way around that.
Past religion-based bias ensured the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman, it has become a tradition from a time before gay rights were acknowledged … this now needs to be challenged, other countries have managed to write a gender neutral definition of marriage into their law.
Within the UK, civil partnerships amount to equality in the eyes of the law: Wilkinson v (1) Katzinger (2) Attorney General and Lord Chancellor (2007) 1 FLR 295;  EWHC 2022 (Fam) where the judge stated that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 accorded same-sex relationships all the rights, responsibilities, benefits and advantages of civil marriage save the name.
If the rights were in any way different or lesser then there may be a suggestion of legal inequality. However, the UK Act is equal in all legal rights to those rights conferred by marriage – down to the rules on divorce.
A reason why, in common law countries with established precedent, civil partnerships may be an appropriate step before full civil marriage is that there will be a number of authorities relating to the position in marriage where it was considered that the man and women were unequal within the relationship. One instance of this might be the presumption of advancement for married women (now to be abolished in the Equality Act).