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FG members vote to prioritise same-sex marriage in convention

The result of the vote means that all of Ireland’s major political parties are in favour of considering a referendum.

Delegates at the Fine Gael Árd-Fheis in Dublin.
Delegates at the Fine Gael Árd-Fheis in Dublin.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

FINE GAEL MEMBERS have voted at the party’s Árd Fheis to prioritise the consideration of allowing full same-sex marriage at the forthcoming constitutional convention.

Members approved motions proposed by several Dublin branches of the party calling on the government to “ensure that the Constitutional Convention prioritises an analysis of the proposals for same-sex marriage in Ireland.”

While not binding as official party policy, the move essentially means that Fine Gael is in favour of reviewing the current legal situation where the constitution forbids any law allowing full marriage between two people of the same sex.

This means that all of the country’s major parties now favour a review of the current law, with Labour and Fianna Fáil being in favour of full same-sex marriage.

Among the speakers in favour of the motion were justice minister Alan Shatter and TD for Dublin South-Central, Catherine Byrne.

The matter is now likely to be discussed as a priority issue by the constitutional convention when it begins its activities later this year, with that convention – including 33 political representatives and 66 ordinary citizens – being given the decision of whether to recommend a referendum allowing for full marrage.

The move was welcomed by the Marriage Equality group, which pointed to public opinion polls indicating 73 per cent of the public being in favour of full same-sex marriage.

“All we need now is for the legislation to catch up to public opinion,” said director Moninne Griffith. “We will be engaging in debate with the members of the Convention, and other stakeholders, as to how marriage equality can be introduced as quickly as possible.”

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network also welcomed the move, with chairman Kieran Rose describing the passing of the motion as “a great step forwards in further building a political consensus for civil marriage for same-sex couples”.

Rose said the vote also built on “the widespread acceptance and support for the Civil Partnerships that are taking place all across the country”.

Previously: TheJournal.ie’s progress report for the Government: Constitutional reform

More: UNESCO praises Irish anti-homophobic bullying campaign

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Gavan Reilly

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