Protesters criticise partnership laws


Over 2,000 people took part in a march in Dublin this afternoon to highlight shortcomings in the civil partnership legislation introduced recently by the Government.

The Civil Partnership Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2009, signed into law last month, extended marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples in some areas of property, social welfare, succession, maintenance, pensions and tax.

But it did not address the rights of children of same-sex couples.

Organised by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender campaign group "Noise", the protest began at City Hall and ended at the Department of Justice on St Stephen's Green.

Organisers said the Government had tried to "pacify" the gay community with the introduction of the legislation, but had failed. They called for the right to marry for same-sex couples.

Organiser Max Krzyzanowski said the legislation excluded LGBT people from a fundamental civil and human right and made them second-class citizens. It did not provide equality for gay people and their families.

"One of the most outrageous aspects of the partnership scheme is the complete lack of any rights for gay parents and their children," he said.

But even if the partnership legislation offered all the benefits of marriage, it would still be discrimination because it would be a separate system, he said.

"A separate system is not an equal system."

Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland, said the demonstration was a resounding answer to those who had dismissed the call for full equality.

He urged the Government to "cherish all the children of the nation equally".