Dáil debates civil unions Bill

Thu, Jan 21, 2010, 00:00

The Dáil was short of a majority to put a proposal for gay marriage to the people in a constitutional referendum, Labour TD Ciaran Lynch told the House today.

Mr Lynch said that the gay community’s aspiration was for full legal equality with their heterosexual peers, as it should be.

He added: “That is the policy of the Labour party, as stated in this House, and affirmed by our own party conference.

“However, the best is often the enemy of the good. The introduction of full civil marriage for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender people would require a constitutional referendum.

“This is the advice of the Attorney General and our own legal advice. At present, there is far from a majority of this House in favour of putting this issue to the people let alone surety that such a referendum would be carried.’’

Mr Lynch was speaking during the resumed second stage Dáil debate on the Civil Partnership Bill 2009.

He said that he could see the merit of the legislation for those members of the gay community who could not wait for the time when circumstances changed.

The Bill, he added, would provide for the rights of a survivor of a relationship to inherit the home they had lived all their lives.

“It will allow them to benefit on the same terms as their peers from their partner’s hard work by giving them access to pension entitlements,’’ said Mr Lynch.

“All of those are measures to be welcomed.’’