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The Constitutional Convention
Read Marriage Equality's submission to the Constitutional Convention - click here!
What is it?
The Constitutional Convention is a year-long process which will bring together members of the public (66) and the Oireachtas (33) to examine 8 key issues which may or may not need Constitutional reform. It is chaired by Tom Arnold, former CEO of Concern.
The Convention has on hand a volunteer panel of 50 legal and academic experts to help inform them on the issues being looked at, as well as answering questions and providing clarity around key issues.
The Convention is also accepting submissions, in various formats, from members of the public and organisations working on the issues, to both give them the opportunity to participate in the process and help inform the proceedings.
(You can find out more about the Constitutional Convention here).
Why is the Convention important for the Marriage Equality Campaign?
One of the 8 issues the Convention will look at is ‘the provision for same-sex marriage’. Once the issue of marriage equality has been explored and voted upon, the Convention, as per its Terms of Reference, will submit its recommendation to Government within two months on whether it should be provided for in the Constitution. Government has then promised to publish its decision on what it proposes to do with the recommendation within 4 months, so at this point they could decide on whether or not they will hold a referendum on the issue. All in all the work of the Convention will take 12 months.
When will the Constitutional Convention look at the issue of marriage equality?
The Convention will be looking at the issue of marriage equality the weekend of APRIL 13TH AND 14TH, 2013.
The Convention had its first meeting on Saturday 1st December 2012, and discussions on the first two issues (voting age and presidential term) were held the weekend of January 26th and 27th. Marriage Equality has been asking TDs and Senators to ensure that marriage equality is dealt with as soon as possible and it is now officially the 5th issue to be looked at.
What can you do to play your part?
The Constitutional Convention provides a HUGE opportunity for supporters of marriage equality to engage with the process to make it a reality. Supporters will be able to make the case for provision of equal access to marriage and to show how much support there is for it amongst the public (this currently stands at 73% as per most recent polls). We have a unique opportunity to inform the Convention and to ensure that a positive recommendation from it issues to Government. This is THE next step to getting marriage equality across the line.
We’re asking you, over the next four months to contact the Oireachtas members who are sitting on the Convention to ask them two simple questions:
“Will you ensure that marriage equality is dealt with as soon as possible by the Convention?”
“Will you vote in favour of proposals introducing marriage equality?”
What if the TDs/Senators in my Constituency are not sitting on the Convention?
Don’t worry! We still need you to contact your local TDs and Senators as part of this work and our TD Campaign which has gotten us to this point. Remember, whether the Constitutional Convention recommends that marriage equality is brought in through legislation or a Constitutional Referendum, members of the Oireachtas will still need to vote to pass the legislation or vote to hold a referendum, so they need to be on board. By contacting your local TDs and Senators you will still be playing a very important part in the campaign! So please continue to contact them and ask them:
“ Will you support a positive recommendation from the Constitutional Convention to provide for marriage equality?”
What else can I do?
We’re glad you asked! Please remember that you can send in an individual submission to the Convention outlining why marriage equality is so important to you and your family. You can find out more details about how to make a submission here and you can find the Convention's administrative contact details here. Remember it’s important to show in practical terms that the marriage ban has serious consequences for many people and their families across the country. Please make sure your submission makes it clear why marriage equality matters for same sex couples & families and for Ireland.
The next 12 months are a crucial time for the campaign for marriage equality and we need to make sure that we’re here to keep this issue alive and to keep the pressure on. We know we can deliver this with your support. . We need YOUR financial help to ensure that we can keep doing this important work. Join our Club 500 donor scheme here or make a donation here.