KERRY COUNTY COUNCIL has followed a number of other local authorities in showing support for same-sex marriage.
A motion, tabled by Labour Councillor Gillian Wharton-Slattery this week, was carried by a vote of 18 to seven.
To date, 14 county or city councils have backed marriage equality.
“This is a wonderful step by Kerry County Council to raise awareness of this important issue at local level,” said Moninne Griffith, the director of advocacy group Marriage Equality.
Marriage equality is not just a national issue, it’s a local one. It’s about respecting and protecting loving couples and families who are part of our communities and treating them as equal. That is why putting the issue on the agenda at local level is so important. Tralee is hosting its first-ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride in May this year, and the passing of today’s motion helps to further boost Kerry’s reputation as a place that welcomes diversity and LGBT people.
Last year, some 965 civil partnerships were registered in Ireland but any legislation to provide for same-sex marriage will require a referendum of the Irish people.
The provision of marriage equality is to be discussed at the Constitutional Convention on 13 and 14 April. Although the Taoiseach has previously declined to express a solid view on the matter, Griffith said she would like Ireland to become a leader when it comes to family equality. She has urged citizens to make a submission to the convention through its website to tell government why the issue is important.
According to Wharton-Slattery, about 5.5 per cent of the population of Kerry is gay.
The vote was taken on Monday afternoon during the council’s monthly meeting. Most councillors stuck with the party line and just one – Pat McCarthy of Fine Gael – abstained from the ballot.
The two Healy-Raes were divided on the issue with Danny voting against the motion and Johnny voting in favour.
Significantly, Fine Gael’s John Sheahan and Labour’s Pat Leahy were the only coalition party members to vote against the motion. Other ‘no’ votes came from Fianna Fáil’s John Joe Culloty and Independent Michael Gleeson.