Irish gay group claims civil partnerships are discriminatory

Tony Grew June 25, 2008
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An organisation that lobbies for full civil marriage rights for same-sex couples in Ireland has attacked their government’s civil partnership proposals.

MarriagEquality said that proposed legislation published yesterday will leave the children of lesbian and gay parents “in limbo,” with no constitutional or legal recognition, or protection.

The group also claims that by creating a separate legal status for same-sex couples, the government is reinforcing inequality.

“Civil partnership is being dubbed as ‘marriage-like’, but marriage entitlements afforded to heterosexual couples will be denied to lesbian and gay couples under the proposed scheme,” MarriagEquality said.

“The human right to marry must be extended to lesbian and gay couples now.

“Civil partnership should have been introduced to Ireland for all straight, lesbian and gay cohabiting couples many years ago.

“Introducing civil partnership as the only option for lesbians and gay men is discriminatory.”

The group rejected the government’s assertion that the Irish constitution limits marriage to a man and a woman.

“MarriagEquality shares the opinion of some of Ireland’s finest constitutional lawyers who see no constitutional impediment to providing marriage equality.

“There is no substance to the argument that full equality for same sex couples is unconstitutional.

“The Government are saying that Irish people are not ready for lesbians and gay men to marry in a civil ceremony but we have research that supports a very different view.

“There has been a huge public shift in recent times on the issue.

“Almost 60% of Irish people think that lesbians and gay men should have the option to marry.

“Furthermore, an overwhelming 86% of people agreed that children of gay and lesbian parents should have the same family rights as other children.”

Yesterday the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Ireland largest gay rights group, welcomed the government’s proposed civil partnerships bill.

“Comprehensive civil partnership, as proposed in the Heads of Bill, is a major milestone towards equality,” said GLEN’s Kieran Rose.

“The goal of GLEN is access to full equality through civil marriage and this Bill is a fundamental step forward towards this goal.

“The provisions outlined today will resolve many immediate and pressing issues faced by lesbian and gay couples and will also provide a platform for further progress.”

GLEN share MarriagEquality’s concern that the proposed legislation does not provide for legal recognition of the many same-sex couples, in particular women, who are parenting children together.

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