Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced to the Dáil today that the proposed referendum on civil marriage will be held in Spring 2015.
Mr Kenny made the announcement in response to a question from Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams about the referendum during Order of Business yesterday evening.
“The leadership shown by the Taoiseach today is an entirely appropriate response to the landslide vote in favour of civil marriage equality by the Constitutional Convention,” said Mark Kelly, director of ICCL (Irish Council for Civil Liberties).
“When the people of Ireland vote on this issue in 2015, we will be participating in a final act of legal recognition of the full equality of our gay and lesbian colleagues and neighbours, friends and family.”
The nation’s marriage equality campaigners have welcomed the news today. “We are delighted with the Government’s decision to hold a referendum to provide equal access to civil marriage for lesbian and gay people in Spring 2015,” said Kieran Rose, chair of GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network).
“The referendum will be the final step in the remarkable 20 year journey from gay law reform to full Constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people in Ireland.”
The referendum will be the latest step in a slow, but steady, 20-year march towards full equality for LGBT citizens of the state, which began with decriminalisation in 1993 and recently including the introduction of civil partnership in 2010.
“This referendum is unlike most other referenda, it’s not concerned with politics or economics,” said Grainne Healy, chair of Marriage Equality, “it’s about Ireland valuing its citizens equally.
“Introducing marriage equality to Ireland would strengthen our reputation as champions for human rights and equality. It would solidify the global belief in Ireland as the place of warm welcomes, warm welcomes to people from abroad, and to our own at home, regardless of sexuality,” she added.
© 2014 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.