Seminar 2: 'Civil Partnership or Civil Marriage?'

9 November 2010

'Civil Partnership or Civil Marriage?' - Speaker: Senator Ivana Bacik

Date & Time: Tuesday, November 9 - 11:00am - 12:30pm
Location: Neil/Hoey Lecture Room, Long Room Hub, Trinity College, Dublin.

The passing of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 represented an important progressive moment in Irish history. However, the Act does not provide for equality for gay couples. It does not provide for recognition of gay marriage and it has only a very minimal reference to protection for the children of families involving two parents of the same sex. Thus although the Act does constitute an advance in the rights of gay people, it is not enough. As the Irish Council for Civil Liberties said, it is a staging post and not a milestone- only a step on the way to true equality.

In this seminar, I will explore the ways in which the civil partnership model introduced in the Act falls short of marriage; and will discuss the attempts to amend the Act to create a more robust model. I will also discuss the principles of civil partnership vs marriage, and consider whether there are any alternative models of relationship recognition.

Senator Ivana Bacik is Reid Professor of Criminal Law at Trinity College Dublin and a practising barrister. Elected to the Seanad in 2007, she is a Labour Senator for Dublin University, a feminist and civil liberties campaigner, and has written on human rights law, equality law, criminal law and criminology. Her publications include 'Kicking and Screaming: Dragging Ireland into the Twenty-First Century' (O'Brien Press, 2004).