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Bill allowing gay marriage to be enacted by end of July

Fitzgerald ‘very conscious that many couples will want to get married as soon as possible’

In setting out a timeframe that may make the first legal gay marriage in the Irish State possible by September, Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said: “I am very conscious that many couples will want to get married as soon as possible. I am working to make that happen.” Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

The Government has announced it will fast-track legislation to allow same-sex marriage by early autumn following the decisive referendum result giving it constitutional approval.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald has announced it is her intention to have the Marriage Bill 2015 enacted by the end of July.

Work had already begun on the Bill before polling took place on Friday.

The proposition was supported by 62 per cent of voters, or 1.2 million people.

The legislation will give effect to the referendum decision which endorsed constitutional change to accommodate marriage between two people of the same sex.

In setting out a timeframe that may make the first legal gay marriage in the Irish State possible by September, Ms Fitzgerald said: “I am very conscious that many couples will want to get married as soon as possible. I am working to make that happen.”

She said she would seek Government approval  for the Marriage Bill 2015 in June with the aim of introducing the Bill to the Oireachtas immediately afterwards.  

Notification of intention    

She confirmed the legislation will include a provision to enable couples to convert a notification of intention to enter a civil partnership into a notification of intention to enter a marriage.

“This means that couples who have already registered their intention to enter a civil partnership will be instead able to get married once the law is enacted on the basis of the same registration of intent.”

The Bill will remove the current impediments in the Civil Registration Act 2004 which prevent same-sex couples from marrying.  

It will also set out the transitional arrangements that will apply where civil partners wish to get married.  It will outline the final dates for registration of civil partnerships.

The Bill will also make clear that religious denominations will not be obliged to solemnise the marriage of a same-sex couple in a religious ceremony.