Members of Fine Gael, a centrist party in the Republic of Ireland, have voted at the party’s Árd Fheis to prioritise the consideration of equal marriages in the country at the forthcoming Constitutional Convention.
According to reports in the Irish media, FG members have approved motions proposed by several branches of the party in Dublin, calling on the government to “ensure that the Constitutional Convention prioritises an analysis of the proposals for same-sex marriage in Ireland.” Among the speakers in favour of the motion were justice minister Alan Shatter and TD for Dublin South-Central, Catherine Byrne.
This is not to say that the call is an official party policy, but it does mean that FG is in favour of reviewing the current legal position, which outlaws civil marriage between two people of the same sex. With Labour and Fianna Fáil already in favour of marriage equality, all of the parties in Ireland are now prepared to look at the law with a view to revision.
So, the Constitution Convention is now likely to make the issue its top priority, which will now have the decision as to whether to allow a referendum on equal marriage.
Both the Marriage Equality Group and the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network have welcomed the move, with the former issuing a statement pointing to public opinion, measured by polls, pointing to almost three in four Irish nationals being in favour of extending marriage to same-sex couples.
Kieran Rose, chairman of GLEN, described the passing of the motion as “a great step forwards in further building a political consensus for civil marriage for same-sex couples.” She added that the vote also built on “the widespread acceptance and support for the Civil Partnerships that are taking place all across the country”.
“All we need now is for the legislation to catch up to public opinion,” said Moninne Griffith, director of Marriage Equality. “We will be engaging in debate with the members of the Convention, and other stakeholders, as to how marriage equality can be introduced as quickly as possible.”