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Zappone and Gilligan launch fresh legal challenge to same-sex marriage ban

The pair married in Canada in 2003, but are fighting to have that marriage legally recognised in Ireland.

Ann Louise Gilligan (L) and Katherine Zappone outside the High Court in 2006
Ann Louise Gilligan (L) and Katherine Zappone outside the High Court in 2006
Image: Photocall Ireland

SENATOR KATHERINE ZAPPONE and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan are preparing to issue a fresh legal challenge in their appeal against the constitutionality of Ireland’s marriage laws.

Last October the Supreme Court denied the couple the opportunity to add another argument to an appeal in the highest court in the land – they wanted to amend the grounds to include an argument that Section 2.2 of the Civil Registration Act 2004 was unconstitutional. The section says there is an “impediment to marriage” if it involved two people of the same sex.

The new challenge will test the provisions of the Civil Registration Act 2004,  and the Civil Partnership Act 2010, which prohibits people who have registered a civil partnership from marrying.

Zappone and Gilligan married in Canada in 2003 and had sought to have their marriage recognised in Ireland. They first brought their case to the High Court in 2006, but were unsuccessful.

They then appealed to the Supreme Court, and were defeated last year on the grounds that a full constitutional challenge to the 2004 Act had not been mounted.

The Marriage Equality organisation has welcomed the move, saying “this new case will focus on the provisions in both Acts which prohibit same sex couples from marrying in Ireland, even if they are legally married in another jurisdiction”.

A poll earlier this year revealed that 73 per cent of Irish people feel that same-sex marriage should be allowed under the constitution.

Gilligan and Zappone vow to continue with Supreme Court appeal>

Column: It’s time for Ireland to follow Obama on gay marriage. Here’s why…

Poll shows strong support for same-sex marriage>

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Emer McLysaght

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