ENDA KENNY HAS announced that a referendum on same-sex marriage will be held in the spring of next year.
Speaking in the Dáil today during Order of Business, the Taoiseach confirmed the vote will take place within the first four months of 2015.
Responding to a question from Gerry Adams, the Fine Gael leader said, “The referendum will be in spring of next year. We haven’t named a date yet.
“There are a number of other legal issues that need to be dealt with, including elements of adoption which are necessary.
We’d like to have that cleared before we put the marriage equality referendum. It will be in the spring of next year and the government will decide a date in due course.
The coalition has committed to calling a vote on marriage equality during its term in office.
Speaking while still Justice Minister, Alan Shatter had explained that both parties wanted the vote to be about “one very simple thing”, which is why they wanted to ensure legislation about adoption and other family matters were looked at first.
“One simple thing… Which is whether people of same sex should be allowed celebrate a ceremony that’s called marriage as opposed to a ceremony called civil partnership. There is no other issue that will arise,” Shatter told a Marriage Equality conference.
“So as we head into 2015, there will be one issue and one issue only: Do you believe individuals should be allowed to enter same-sex marriages or should we discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation and deny that to them?”
The Taoiseach has also said he will “canvass for it when it comes”.
A Red C poll in November last year found that 76% of voters will support the referendum.
Today’s announcement has been welcomed by a number of groups campaigning for marriage equality.
“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,” said Gay and Lesbian Equality Network chairperson Kieran Rose.
Marriage Equality said it was confident people with “overwhelmingly support” the extension of civil marriage rights to gay and lesbian people.
“Social attitudes in Ireland have changed profoundly – and for the better – over the last twenty years and the ICCL is confident that the vast majority of Irish voters will enthusiastically embrace this opportunity to play their part in creating a more equal society,” added Mark Kelly from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
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