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Varadkar: Same-sex marriage referendum could be held next year

The government is due to outline its plans for a referendum on same-sex marriage after discussions at Cabinet next Tuesday.

Leo Varadkar speaking today
Leo Varadkar speaking today
Image: Photocall Ireland

A REFERENDUM ON same-sex marriage could be held next year, a senior Cabinet minister has suggested.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar told the media in Dublin earlier today that he would like to see a referendum held on the issue, repeating that he is in favour of it being legalised in Ireland but adding “that’s a personal view”.

On a possible date, he said: “One option is 2014, to have it on the same day as the local and European elections, when at least we’d be assured that substantial number of people would come out to vote.”

The Minister repeated his previously stated view of referendums – which he has said are not “very democratic” – saying today they are “funny things” where the vast majority of people don’t vote at all and those that do do so for “extraneous reasons”.

The government is due to outline its plans for a referendum on same-sex marriage after discussions at Cabinet next Tuesday.

This follows the recommendation from the Constitutional Convention that a referendum be held.

Speaking last weekend, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that a same-sex marriage referendum would be held before the end of the lifetime of this government.

Gilmore has previously described same-sex marriage as “the civil rights issue of this generation”.

While Varadkar and other Fine Gael ministers have said they are in favour of same-sex couples marrying, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has so far not given his personal view.

More: Government to make same-sex marriage decision next week

Gilmore: ‘Same-sex marriage referendum will be held before the end of the lifetime of this government’

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Hugh O'Connell

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