Gilmore wants gay marriage vote

 

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore would like to see a referendum on same-sex marriage “as soon as possible”, he said today.

Mr Gilmore said his own view was the “time has come” for marriage of same-sex couples. “I don’t believe we should postpone what is a human right,” he told RTÉ radio.

Same-sex marriage would be one of the first issues examined by the constitutional convention, which needed to be “given the time to look at it”.

Mr Gilmore said it was “significant that this is one of the first issues to be looked at” by the constitutional convention, which is due to convene next month.

Advocacy group Marriage Equality welcomed the call by Mr Gilmore for a referendum.

“Now is the time for marriage equality, and we want Ireland to lead thismovement for equality along with countries like Spain and Portugal, and not fall behind,” Marriage Equality director Moninne Griffith said.

There was a “strong majority of people who think same sex couples should have the right to marry the person they love,” she said.

The constitutional convention was a “huge opportunity” to take “the next step as a modern, democratic country that has respect for diversity and that believes in equality,” she added.

Also reacting today was David Quinn of conservative think tank, the Iona Institute. In a statement Mr Quinn said he believed the Government would lose a referendum on same-sex marriage “if it was foolish enough to expend precious political capital on it”.

Mr Quinn said it would be “wrong” of the Government to “seek to redefine marriage” which was “society’s way of saying children deserve the love of a mother and a father”.

The constitutional convention will be made up of 100 members, including the chairman. The number includes 66 members of the public, chosen randomly from the electoral register, and 33 elected representatives drawn from the Houses of the Oireachtas along with a parliamentarian from each of the parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The convention has been asked to consider a range of matters covering both institutional and social issues.

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