Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has described as a "red herring" the concern expressed by some religious groups that school funding will be cut if they do not support the same-sex marriage referendum.
“There is absolutely no fear at all that any school or religious organisation couldn’t continue to expose its own views on any religious matter without any fear of any funding being touched in any way,” he said.
“That’s a complete red herring.”
Speaking on his way into Cabinet, Mr Howlin said people were being asked to vote on what he described as “one net issue”.
He said the question was whether or not all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be treated equally under the Constitution.
“Anything else is extraneous to that.”
On Friday, May 22nd, voters will be asked whether the Constitution should be changed so as to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.
If the referendum is passed, a marriage between two people of the same sex will have the same status under the Constitution as a marriage between a man and a woman.
Both types of married couple will be recognised as a family and be entitled to the Constitutional protection for families, while the Constitutional status of marriage itself will remain unchanged.