April 17, 2013
Ireland: Resounding victory for marriage
Last weekend a constitutional convention debated and voted over gay marriage in Ireland.
Made up of a third of politicians and two thirds ordinary citizens, the convention voted overwhelmingly with 79% recommending the constitution be amended to allow for same sex marriage. 19% of participants voted against, and the remainder voted no opinion.
Asked what form this constitutional change should take – 78% of the convention voted for a directive amendment i.e. ”the State shall enact laws providing for same-sex marriage”, while 17% voted for the permissive form i.e. ”the State may enact laws providing for same-sex marriage”.
The convention also voted in favour of recommending that the State pass laws “incorporating changed arrangements in regard to the parentage, guardianship and the upbringing of children”.
The Irish Government has reacted to this result by pledging to hold a debate in the Oireachtas (Parliament) and deliver a response within the next four months.
This constitutional change is essential in the fight for gay marriage in Ireland. While the Constitution doesn’t explicitly define marriage as being between a man and a woman, the Courts and further legislation has interpreted it as such.
The Constitution is considered a living document, open to interpretation by the judges and the Supreme Court. It is this legal system that has interpreted the constitutional definition of marriage to being between a man and a woman.
When the Civil Registration Act was introduced in 2004, it too defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. Given the nature of the legislation, this definition could be amended to make it gender neutral at any time.
Spot the difference
What’s the difference between civil partnership and marriage in Ireland? According to Marriage Equality, an organisation based in Dublin, there are 160 differences.
These missing pieces range from issues of the family home, finance, legal procedures, administration, immigration, parent and child, to equality.
It’s things like only one parent having legal rights to the children, lack of inheritance rights for children and unequal immigration procedures. More on these differences can be read in the Marriage Equality report.
Gay marriage globally
|Jurisdiction||Title of Relationship|
|Czech Republic||Registrované partnerství|
|Denmark||(a) Registreret partnerskab (b) Marriage|
|Iceland||(a) Staðfest samvist (b) Marriage|
|Isle of Man||Civil Partnership|
|New Zealand||Civil Union|
|Norway||(a) Registrert partnerskap (b) Marriage|
|South Africa||(a) Marriage (b) Civil Partnership|
|Sweden||(a) Registrerat partnerskap (b) Marriage|
|Switzerland||Eingetragene Partnerschaft / Partenariat enregistré|
|United Kingdom||Civil Partnership|
|Connecticut (USA)||(a) Civil Union (b) Marriage|
|Delaware (USA)||Civil Union|
|Hawaii (USA)||Civil Union|
|Illinois (USA)||Civil Union|
|New Hampshire (USA)||(a) Civil Union (b) Marriage|
|New Jersey (USA)||Civil Union|
|New York (USA)||Marriage|
|Oregon (USA)||Domestic Partnership|
|Rhode Island (USA)||Civil Union|
|Vermont (USA)||(a) Civil Union (b) Marriage|
|Washington State (USA)||Marriage|
|Washington DC (USA)||Marriage|
Information via Department of Justice and Equality, 2013.
The people speak
Video by Karl Hayden.
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