Marriage Referendum Faces Legal Challenges


The High Court has begun hearing two separate challenges to the result of the same-sex marriage referendum.


Gerry Walshe, an electrician from Co Clare, and Maurice Lyons, from Co Kilkenny, are seeking injunctions to prevent the issuing of a certificate verifying the referendum while their cases are being heard.

First they need to get permission from the High Court to continue their cases against the State and the Referendum Commission.

This morning, Gerry Walshe opened with the statement “this is not an anti-gay issue, it’s a failure of the referendum process.”

Making his arguments before the President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, Walshe outlined a number of grounds for his request, including the compromising of ballot secrecy and the unfair expenditure of money.

He claims there was a lack of impartiality in the distribution of posters with Yes posters, many backed by government parties, appearing 7 to 10 times more frequently than No posters.

“I take it as an accepted principle that the government are not allowed to fund a campaign to achieve a particular result,” he said.

Walshe also questioned the availability of the proposed bill at Post Offices, to which Judge Kearns explained that this was no longer a legal requirement.

A separate application is to be made this afternoon by Kilkenny resident Maurice Lyons, in which he will argue that the proposed amendment to the Constitution would introduce uncertainty and cannot lawfully be approved.

Both parties had requested that the proceedings be adjourned to allow them time to review responding submissions from the State.

Justice Kearns refused the request for the adjournment saying that, “there could be couples with serious illnesses with plans that could be put on hold.”

The referendum was passed last month with 62% supporting a Yes vote.


© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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