Kerry County Council passed a motion in support of equal marriage on Monday, becoming the latest local authority in Ireland to vote in favour of marriage equality.

The motion was tabled by Labour Councillor, Gillian Wharton-Slattery, after she was approached by members of the gay community, asking why the motion had not been passed yet.

Equal marriage is now to be discussed by the Constitutional Convention on 13 and 14 April 2013.

Marriage Equality Director, Moninne Griffith, said: “This is a wonderful step by Kerry County Council to raise awareness of this important issue at a local level. We’d like to thank all councillors involved for their initiative, Councillor Gillian Wharton-Slattery for tabling the motion, and our supporters across Kerry who spoke to their councillors about raising the issue.

“Marriage equality is not just a national issue, it’s a local one. It’s about respecting and protecting loving couples and families who are part of our communities and treating them as equal. That is why putting the issue on the agenda at local level is so important.

“Tralee is hosting its first-ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride in May this year, and the passing of today’s motion helps to further boost Kerry’s reputation as a place that welcomes diversity and LGBT people.”

Some senior politicians have spoken in favour of introducing equal marriage. A referendum would be required in order to introduce the legislation.

Recent polls suggested that 75% of people would vote yes to extending civil marriage to same-sex couples, which had increased by 12% from four years previous, reports Gay Community News. 

In November, the Irish deputy prime minister (Tánaiste) Eamon Gilmore said he would like to see a referendum on same-sex marriage “as soon as possible”.

The Irish Central Statistics Office last year reported the number of gay couples entering into civil partnerships had dropped by a third since its introduction in 2011.