Same-sex marriage legislation passes all stages in Oireachtas

Minister for Justice says it is a ‘joyous day’ and weddings by Christmas

The Seanad agrees to the Marriage Referendum bill, with the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, calling it a 'proud' day.

 

Legislation paving the way for same-sex marriage has passed all stages in the Oireachtas and now goes to President Michael D Higgins for signing.

The final stages of the Marriage Bill 2015, giving effect to the Yes vote in last May’s referendum, was passed by the Seanad on Thursday afternoon to applause from Senators and those who watched the debate from the public gallery.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald the first same-sex marriages will take place by mid-November. She said this was a marker of a new Ireland.

“Today is a joyous day,’’ she added.

Independent Senator David Norris said it was a wonderful day but the Irish people now needed to ensure other countries follow our path.

“We can relax here but we can’t relax for our brothers and sisters throughout the world,” he said.

Tánaiste Joan Burton said she is delighted this day had finally come.

“Today is a good day for Irish democracy.”

Independent Ronan Mullen, who had expressed concern about the legislation’s implications for religious marriage, said those who had opposed the referendum still loved those they disagreed with.

“But we have to be true to ourselves,’’ he added.

Mr Mullen said it should not have taken a referendum on marriage to signal a united horror and opposition to homophobia.

Labour Senator Susan O’ Keeffe said: “Let us hold our heads high and roll on the weddings.’’