Partnership Bill introduced in Ireland

Timothy Kincaid

December 3rd, 2009

ireland

A partnership registry in Ireland has been introduced. From Fox News

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said Thursday that the Civil Partnerships Bill would give gay couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples to questions of inheritance, medical care and access to state benefits — and also the same right to demand financial support from wealthier partners when relationships fail.

The bill faces opposition from a minority of lawmakers in the ruling Fianna Fail party. But its passage into law this month appears assured because of strong backing by opposition parties.

Although most couple rights are included, rights relating to children are missing. For those, and other reasons, it is being dismissed by some gay groups as inadequate

Earlier, The National Lesbian and Gay Federation rejected the Bill, and reiterated calls for the immediate introduction of a civil marriage option.

The Union of Students in Ireland says the proposed Bill will offer a number of legal rights to lesbian and gay couples but falls short of offering many of the rights and protections covered by civil marriage.

The USI says the Bill ‘refuses to recognise the existence of same sex families, leaving children of same sex couples vulnerable and unprotected under Irish law’.

USI Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender Rights Officer Laura Finlay said: ‘The implementation of this Civil Partnership Bill will only serve to enshrine in law the second class citizenship of LGBT people in this country.

‘It is wholly unfair and sends out the message that gay people in Ireland are not equal to their heterosexual counterparts.’

A provision allowing marriage would not be possible by means of legislation as most politicians agree that such a law would require national referendum to change to the wording of the constitution. And the government has expressed intention to address some other outstanding issues involving taxation and social welfare.

Vancity

December 3rd, 2009

“A provision allowing marriage would not be possible by means of legislation as most politicians agree that such a law would require national referendum to change to the wording of the constitution.”

Well, the Irish Constitution does state: “The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.” (art. 41.1.1)

And: “The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.” (art. 41.3.1)

However, I don’t see anything in here that would prevent same-sex marriage. The only folks who see same-sex marriage as unconstitutional are those who view same-sex marriage as an “attack” on the family — which, of course, it is not.

Timothy Kincaid

December 4th, 2009

Vancity,

I too do not see language in the Irish Constitution that would disallow same sex marriage.

However, it is my impression (as an American I don’t assume my impression is correct) that few if any prominent politicians – even those who speak of eventually achieving marriage equality – believe that it can come through legislation without a constitutional change.

Timothy (TRiG)

December 9th, 2009

There’s nothing explicit in Bunreacht na hÉireann defining marriage, but I think most lawyers say the framers of the constitution knew what they meant by marriage, and we should follow that until such time as we have a referendum. It took two referenda to allow divorce in this country.

The group MarriagEquality disagree, and think marriage would be possible without a referendum. At the moment, polls suggest a referendum would pass, but the naysayers haven’t started campaigning yet, so who knows.

TRiG.

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