In the final stages of the introduction of same-sex marriage in Ireland, Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald signed the commencement order giving effect to the new Marriage Act 2015, which allows same-sex couples to marry.
LGBT activists gathered at Dublin Castle today to witness the commencement of the Marriage Bill, 2015. Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald signed the commencement order for the Marriage Equality Act, while Tánaiste Joan Burton signed the accompanying legislation under the Civil Registration Act.
The Tánaiste said that from next Monday, November 16, people who had already applied for a civil partnership could now be married.
Same-sex couples who married abroad will have their marriages recognised automatically by the State, while existing civil partnerships will retain that status unless they choose to marry. There will be no automatic ‘upgrade’ from civil partnership to marriage; any change in status will entail a ceremony before a registrar.
“I look forward to children in every town and village growing up, knowing that their country accepts them, whoever it is they one day grow up to be, and whoever it is they one day grow up to love,” said the Tánaiste in an emotional speech.
Minister Fitzgerald added: “The Irish people blazed a trail on 22 May 2015 when they became the first sovereign people to choose marriage equality by popular vote. They determined that Ireland should be characterised by solidarity and inclusiveness. They have reaffirmed the importance of marriage and family for our society.”
Speaking as the Ministers signed the commencement, ICCL Executive Director Mr Mark Kelly said: “This dignified ceremony brings down the curtain on the highly-successful YesEquality coalition and makes marriage equality a reality.
“The ICCL is profoundly grateful to Ailbhe Smith of Marriage Equality and Kieran Rose of GLEN for their decades of dedicated advocacy in favour of full equality for same sex couples. The campaign stood on the shoulders of giants.”
Praising the tireless work of Minister Fitzgerald in pushing the Marriage Act through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible, Táinaiste said that now marriage “reality for LGBT couples.”
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