Tánaiste expresses hope for same-sex marriage referendum by early 2015

Cabinet to decide on vote in next fortnight

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: reiterated Labour’s commitment to a referendum on same-sex marriage. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: reiterated Labour’s commitment to a referendum on same-sex marriage. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Sun, Oct 27, 2013, 21:09

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has reiterated Labour’s commitment to a referendum on same-sex marriage but it must await a Cabinet decision in the next fortnight.

A spokesman for Mr Gilmore said he hoped to hold a referendum in late 2014 or early 2015 but added it would be presumptious to assume the Cabinet would agree before deliberating on the matter either this week or next.

Mr Gilmore also expressed his commitment to holding a referendum at a Labour youth conference in Limerick, in a move which was “strongly” welcomed by Kieran Rose, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network.

The pro-gay Church of Ireland Changing Attitude Ireland group also welcomed the assurance.

Its chairman Dr Richard O’Leary said “we hope that the churches will not campaign against the extension of civil marriage to Ireland’s gay and lesbian minority, while we defend their right not to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies if they don’t want to”.

Meanwhile, speaking at the group’s AGM in Dublin, former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness said the legal position of children of same sex-couples was a “crucial issue”.

“Neither in the legislation on civil partnership nor in the general law on guardianship is the special position of these children and their gay or lesbian parents fully recognised,” she said.

A member of the Church of Ireland Mrs Justice McGuinness said it was by no means rare for gays, lesbians and transgender people to find it “a cold enough house for them particularly those who wish to exercise ministry within that church.”

Her talk was to mark the 20th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland.

Senator David Norris, who was unable to attend due to his cancer treatment, received an award at the AGM for his tireless work in promoting gay rights.