Protest for same-sex marriage

 

Up to 5,000 people gathered outside the Department of Justice in St Stephen's Green this afternoon to protest against the Government's refusal to lift the ban on same sex marriages.

The crowd which marched from Dublin City Hall heard former director of the Equality Authority Niall Crowley claim the proposed legislation on civil partnerships was a retrograde step, merely tolerating but not valuing, diversity. Tolerance alone was not acceptable he said, as it was often accompanied by contempt.

Mr Crowley said the Civil Partnerships Bill did nothing to promote equality and was in fact a move to enshrine inequality into law. It was, he said, the product of a backlash against gains in the equality agenda in recent years, such as legislation on incitement to racial hatred. People somehow believed they could no longer afford equality, he said.

Other speakers at the march included broadcaster Brendan Courtney, former director of the International Lesbian and Gay Association Patricia Prendeville, march coordinator Mark McCarron and journalist Fiona McCann, as well as a number of same sex couples and their families who gave personal testaments.

Ms Prendeville said it was "now time for another shift in how we understand marriage here in Ireland as well as throughout the world". Mr McCarron, vowed the protests would continue "until the ban on same sex civil marriage is lifted. We are not going to go away and we are not going to be satisfied with a few crumbs. We want the whole cake, the wedding cake.'

Organisations represented at the gathering included Amnesty International, the Union of Students in Ireland, and other groups representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people.

Draft legislation for civil partnership at the end of June, and it will be debated when the Dáil resumes in September