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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 4 July, 2020

Vote for civil marriage for same-sex couples 'an historic step'

The Constututional Convention has voted overwhelmingly in favour of recommending that the Constitution be changed to allow for civil marriages for same-sex couples.

Image: same-sex marriage via Shutterstock

THE CONSTITUTION CONVENTION has voted overwhelmingly in favour of recommending that the Constitution be changed to allow for civil marriages for same-sex couples.

Following yesterday’s submissions, 79 per cent of people voted ‘Yes’, with 19 per cent saying ‘No’, and a further one per cent which offered ‘No opinion’.

In a joint statement, the advocacy groups Marriage Equality, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) called it “an historic step”.

GLEN director, Brian Sheehan said that the result was “a major milestone on the remarkable journey to full constitutional protection for lesbian and gay people and families in Ireland.”

Regarding the question of whether this amendment should be permissive (where the State may enact laws providing for same-sex marriage) or directive (where the State shall enact laws providing for same-sex marriage), 78 per cent of people voted that it should be directive.

Parenting and guardianship

A final question asked delegates if they agreed, disagreed or had no opinion that “having regard to the changed arrangements in relation to marriage, the State shall enact laws incorporating changed arrangements in regard to the parentage, guardianship and the upbringing of children”.

81 per cent of people voted ‘Yes’, with 12 per cent voting ‘No’ and a further two per cent offering ‘No opinion’.

Following today’s vote, a report will now be drafted with the recommendations of the Constitutional Convention going to Government.

The chairman of the Constitutional Convention, Mr Tom Arnold, said that the weekend’s discussions had “been both passionate and thoughtful, both heartfelt and rigorous.”

Throughout this process, citizens were actively encouraged to engage with the issue of same-sex marriage and make their views known through the website and by other means. There was an unprecedented response from the public and over 1000 submissions were considered by the Convention.

Fine Gael TD, and chair of the party’s LGBT Group, Jerry Buttimer TD, called today’s vote result an “overwhelming endorsement” that send a “loud signal to the rest of the world about the value the Irish people place on equality, diversity and inclusiveness.”

The debate over the last two days at the Convention was exceptional and the forum gave those in attendance an excellent opportunity to thrash out the issues of concern to them in understanding what marriage equality means both personally and for wider society.
The Government has committed to formulating a public response to each of the Convention’s recommendations within four months of them being made which means that today’s outcome progresses the issue and moves it on considerably.


Read: Constitutional Convention to vote on same-sex marriage today >

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Paul Hyland

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