Civil Unions signed in Ireland
July 19th, 2010
From the Irish Times:
The Civil Partnership Bill, which provides legal recognition for same-sex couples in Ireland for the first time, has today been signed into law.
The Bill was signed into law by President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin this morning
It extends marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples in the areas of property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax.
Meanwhile, its neighbor is still talking about full marriage rights. (Pink News)
Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that the government will give gay couples the right to civil marriage.
He predicted that the change would be made before the next general election.
Mr Hughes said a consultation would take place in the coalition government on taking civil partnership to the next level.
Speaking in a video interview, he said: “It would be appropriate in Britain in 2010, 2011, for there to be the ability for civil marriage for straight people and gay people equally.
Ireland civil unions update
July 9th, 2010
From Pink News
The bill, which grants almost all of the rights of marriage, passed in the Dail last week and was approved in the Seanad last night after two days of debate.
It passed with the support of 48 senators, with just four voting against, and will be sent to President Mary McAleese, who can approve it or refer it to the Supreme Court if she believes it may be unconstitutional.
Ireland’s Dáil passes civil partnerships
July 1st, 2010
The Bill recognising the civil partnership of same-sex couples passed all stages in the Dáil tonight without a vote.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said the Civil Partnership Bill would put in place a legal regime that reflected the many forms of relationships in modern Irish society.
The bill is far from perfect. It does not provide protection for children, and does not provide full marriage recognition. But as of the implementation of this bill gay couples will have greatly increased rights, privileges and responsibilities for each other.
UPDATE: This was not the final step. The legislation will now go to be ratified by the Seanad, the upper chamber.
We’ll keep you updated.
Ireland’s vote on civil partnerships to come today
July 1st, 2010
From Irish Times
The final Dáil debate on the Civil Partnership Bill is to take place today.
The purpose of the new Bill is to establish an extensive package of rights, obligations and protections for same-sex couples who register as civil partners.
The bill is expected to pass and will become law in the fall.
Two thoughts on the Pope’s Pastoral Letter
March 22nd, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI has sent a Pastoral Letter to Irish Catholics in response to the Church’s crisis over child-molesting priests. It has been fairly universally condemned as inadequate and uncaring. Personally, I find it to be one of the most arrogant and self-serving of all possible responses the Pope could have given. But perhaps I’m biased.
I did, however, note two things I want to note.
First, the Pope writes as though this were a letter to the Southern Baptists, rather than to part of the Catholic family. All condemnations are directed at “you” and “the Church in your country”. It seems to me that this Pope wishes to make clear that he holds neither himself, the Vatican, the hierarchy, nor the political, legal, or pastoral policies of the Church as a whole to have any share in the failings.
It seems that he wishes to portray this tragedy as a singular incident, a failing of the Irish, rather than as a part of what is rapidly becoming a global epidemic.
Second, the Pope seems to want parents to take their share in the blame. He writes:
8. To parents
You have been deeply shocked to learn of the terrible things that took place in what ought to be the safest and most secure environment of all. In today’s world it is not easy to build a home and to bring up children. They deserve to grow up in security, loved and cherished, with a strong sense of their identity and worth. They have a right to be educated in authentic moral values rooted in the dignity of the human person, to be inspired by the truth of our Catholic faith and to learn ways of behaving and acting that lead to healthy self-esteem and lasting happiness. This noble but demanding task is entrusted in the first place to you, their parents. I urge you to play your part in ensuring the best possible care of children, both at home and in society as a whole, while the Church, for her part, continues to implement the measures adopted in recent years to protect young people in parish and school environments. As you carry out your vital responsibilities, be assured that I remain close to you and I offer you the support of my prayers.
While this, on the surface, appears as sage counsel to live up to our duty to our children, I wonder if His Holiness has considered the meaning of this advice.
The Pope has said that it is the duty of parents to ensure the best possible care for children. Taking this in the context of priest abuse it means, in effect, that parents failed by trusting the Church and her officers.
When the Church said, “bring your children to us for altar duty”, parents failed by listening. When the Church said, “send your children to Catholic boarding school”, parents failed by agreeing. When the Church said, “teach your children to trust God and trust the Church as His representative”, the parents failed by doing precisely that. When the Church said, “you can trust us”, the parents failed by believing.
This Pope seems to be arguing the con-man’s defense: “I may have deceived you, but it’s your fault for believing me”.
Perhaps he’s right.
Irish Evangelical Group Supports Civil Partnerships
December 8th, 2009
As we reported earlier the Republic of Ireland is considering a Civil Partnership bill which would grant Ireland’s same-sex couples many of the rights and obligations of heterosexual married couples. That law is exptected to pass. Evangelical Alliance Ireland has issued a statement supporting the bill.
You read that right. Even though they give no ground whatsoever on theology, Evangelicals in Ireland are supporting the bill (PDF: 333KB/4 pages):
The Christian Scriptures make it clear that God’s purpose for his gift of sex is that it would be the ultimate physical expression of love tween a man and a woman in the context of the covenant of marriage. However, the Gospel requires us that we show grace to those who fundamentally disagree with our convictions and who do not shape their lives according to what we believe is good for them. Jesus requires of his followers that they love and do good to those who oppose them or who hold to different ethical standards as they do.
The question we face is how followers of Jesus Christ are to live in a society that does not believe as they do and may even oppose principles we hold to, seeing them as out-dated, illiberal and even oppressive.
Some will criticize such a stance as a “cop out.” But the challenge to incarnate and command an alternative way of living as followers of Jesus is no cop out. We face this challenge of showing the power and beauty of marriage as God’s intended context for sex, for the raising of children and for the thriving of society. We face the challenge of showing the strength of friendships, both same gender and opposite gender, that are based on loving as Jesus has loved us. Facing these challenges is no cop out. It is the essence of Christian discipleship.
Irish Evangelicals are fare from unanimous on this. Another group, Aontas (previously known as the Association of Irish Evangelical Churches) criticizes the move. “Aontas remains opposed to the Civil Partnership Bill because it undermines the status of marriage,” said Paudge Mulvihill, the group’s honorary secretary.
Irish Fianna Fáil Party required to vote for Partnerships
December 4th, 2009
From Irish Central
Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern refused to allow party colleagues to abstain or vote against a new bill legalizing civil partnerships for gay couples.
He banned the so-called “freedom of conscience” clause for colleagues to defy the government and vote against the bill.
With other minority parties supporting the bill, it is expected to pass.
Partnership Bill introduced in Ireland
December 3rd, 2009
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.
Civil Partnerships Come to Ireland
June 26th, 2009
Ireland has finally
passed published its Civil Partnership Bill which provides many (but not all) of the rights, priveleges, and responsibilities to same-sex couples. (Reuters) The bill has strong support and is expected to become law.
“This bill provides legal protection for cohabiting couples and is an important step, particularly for same-sex couples, whose relationships have not previously been given legal recognition by the state,” Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said in a statement.
The legislation provides a range of previously denied rights including maintenance obligations, protection of a shared home and succession. “Balance is achieved by maintaining material distinctions between civil partnership and marriage, in particular between the rights attaching to both, while at the same time reflecting the equality rights protected by the constitution,” Ahern said.
The Irish Constitution requires that marriage be given preferential treatment (Irish Times).
The heads of the Bill (giving an outline of the proposed legislation) were first published in late 2007 but progress was slowed by a number of complex issues. One of the issues is believed to have been the potential conflict between the strong rights conferred to marriage in the Constitution and the equality rights protected by Article 40.1.
With Ireland providing recognition, Europe now looks like this:
Irish Anglicans are United
July 26th, 2008
According to the Irish Times
Ireland’s 12 Church of Ireland bishops may differ as to whether gay clergy should be consecrated bishops, but each respected the other’s opinion, the Archbishop of Dublin said yesterday.
Considering the turmoil that some parts of the Anglican family have been stirring up, it is good to see a measured spiritual response from this body of believers.
Irish Eyes are Smiling on Gay Couples
March 31st, 2008
The Irish government is in the process of determining the method it will employ to recognize gay couples. Meanwhile, support for marriage equality has increased in Ireland. Currently,
- 58% favor allowing marriage in registry offices
- 26% favor civil partnerships but do not favor marriage
- 16% do not favor either
Pinknews reports on the expected governmental decision.
The Irish government has ruled out gay marriage, claiming that it would require a change to the country’s constitution and a potentially divisive referendum.
Justice Minister Brian Lenihan is expected to bring forward proposals for a form of civil partnerships at the end of this month.
Ireland to offer Same-Sex Relationship Recognition
November 1st, 2007
Parts of Europe have provided some recognition and protection for same-sex couples for about a decade. Currently three countries (in green) provide marriage equality while many more (in red) offer various secondary protections ranging from civil unions that are identical to marriage down to limited property rights.
Now from the Belfast Telegraph comes word that Ireland has given a time frame for their long promised legislation on same-sex partner recognition.
The Government is promising to bring in legislation next year recognising civil partnerships among same-sex couples.
The new law will also allow heterosexual couples to form legal arrangements without the requirement of marriage.
There is no word yet as to the extent of the bill but it is likely to be far less than the civil unions bill proposed by the opposition party.