Labour to table civil unions Bill


The Labour Party hopes to get support in the Dáil today for a Bill that would give same-sex couples and unmarried couples the same rights as those who are married.

The Civil Unions Bill, to be tabled in private members' time by Labour today, will be debated tonight and tomorrow night.

Labour's justice spokesman, Brendan Howlin, who will introduce the Bill, said he is optimistic from soundings from the Government benches that Coalition TDs may support it at second stage.

It is very rare for the Government to support an Opposition-sponsored Bill in the Dáil.

Mr Howlin said his Bill was a very significant step towards the provision of full equality for gay and lesbian citizens. He said he was confident that an increasingly pluralist Irish society had matured its attitudes on the issue.

Recent research has shown that 52 per cent of Irish people are in favour of full civil marriage status for same sex couples, while 84 per cent are in favour of legal recognition.

The Labour Party tabled the Bill following the Government's failure to outline any time frame for implementing the report of the Working Group on Domestic Relationships, published last November.