The date has been provisionally set for Ireland’s long-awaited same-sex marriage referendum.
The delayed referendum will take place within the first four months of 2015, the country’s Prime Minister confirmed yesterday.
It was first announced by Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore in June 2013, and was initially expected to take place this year, but was later expected to slip to 2015.
Speaking about same-sex adoption in the Dáil, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said: “The referendum will be in spring of next year. We haven’t named a date yet.
“There are a number of other legal issues that need to be dealt with, including elements of adoption which are necessary.
“We’d like to have that cleared before we put the marriage equality referendum. The government will decide a date in due course.”
Justice minister Alan Shatter said: “[It will be about] one simple thing… which is whether people of same sex should be allowed celebrate a ceremony that’s called marriage as opposed to a ceremony called civil partnership. There is no other issue that will arise.
“So as we head into 2015, there will be one issue and one issue only: Do you believe individuals should be allowed to enter same-sex marriages or should we discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and deny that to them?”
Polls indicate that around 75% of the Irish population support equal marriage, but Irish referenda have a history of unpredictable outcomes, due to fluctuating turnout and powerful religious lobbying groups.
Mark Kelly from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties said: “Social attitudes in Ireland have changed profoundly – and for the better – over the last twenty years and the ICCL is confident that the vast majority of Irish voters will enthusiastically embrace this opportunity to play their part in creating a more equal society.”