THE CABINET HAS reached an agreement to hold a referendum on legalising same-sex marriage in Ireland in the first half of 2015, with a number of other referendums to be held on the same day.
The government reached agreement to hold a vote on the same-sex marriage issue in 2015, securing the commitment from Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore that a vote will be held in the lifetime of this government.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the question of same-sex marriage and a number of other issues discussed by the Constitutional Convention will be put to the people by mid-2015.
“So there is no referendum planned for 2014,” he said. “This and a number of other proposals from the Constitutional Convention will be considered by the people by mid-2015.”
The exact date for the vote is still to be agreed but in a statement this afternoon Justice Minister Alan Shattr said that the referendum will take place during the first half of 2015.
It is believed that a number of other referendums will be held on the same day concerning issues arising out of the Constitutional Convention.
These include lowering the voting age from 18 to 16, and reducing the presidential term and minimum age requirement to run for the Áras.
A vote may also be held on removing the so-called ‘women in the home’ clause from Bunreacht na hÉireann.
However, these matters have still to be discussed and agreed definitively by government following reports from the constitutional think tank.
Shatter also said today that he hopes to have a draft of the Children and Family Relationships Bill 2013 published before Christmas.
This legislation will deal with the legalities surrounding adoption and parental rights for same-sex couples. It is anticipated that this law will be enacted prior to the marriage referendum.
Shatter added that the government shares the concern of the Constitutional Convention chairman, Tom Arnold, that referendum questions do not confuse people.
He said that this could mean that a referendum commission may be appointed earlier than has been the case for referendums held in recent years.
First published 1.58pm