About the Court Case

Update 06.06.2012 - Click here to read a statement from Katherine & Ann Louise regarding their decision to end their Supreme Court appeal and proceed to challenge the Civil Partnership and Civil Registration Acts before the High Court.

"Equality is not an abstract concept... The Court has an historic choice to make - a choice that commits our legal system to equality or one that entrenches and confirms prejudice and discrimination."

Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, The Irish Times, 2 October 2006


We've come a long way since 2006, when Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne reached her decision NOT to recognise the marriage of Katherine and Ann Louise in the High Court.

outsidehighcourtOutside the High Court, 2006In 2010 the Irish Government passed the Civil Partnership Act, and in 2011 many couples across the country have registered their civil partnerships. However, it is quite clear that a distinction has been made by the government - that marriage is for heterosexual couples, and civil partnership is for same sex couples. The Civil Partnership Act may recognise same sex relationships for the first time in Ireland, and give some rights to same sex couples, but it is not equality. The unequal and unjust treatment of same sex couples continues.

In March 2011, the new Fine Gael / Labour coalition government published its Programme for Government, which included a provision for a Constitutional Convention to assess the possibility of introducing marriage equality in Ireland. The Constitutional Convention is required to report its findings after 12 months, but it is not likely to be established until later in 2012.

And so Katherine and Ann Louise's High Court challenge is as important now as it was before the introduction of civil partnerships.

Since Katherine and Ann Louise's first High Court challenge in 2006, marriage equality has been introduced in:

South Africa (2005-2006)
Norway (2009)
Sweden (2009)
Argentina (2009 - 2010)
Portugal (2010)
Iceland (2010)

US States
Connecticut (2008)
Washington DC (2009)
Iowa (2009)
Vermont (2009)
New Hampshire (2010)
New York (2011)

...in addition to countries which adopted marriage equality legislation prior to 2006: Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Canada, as well as the US state of Massachusetts.

In any event, Marriage Equality will continue to keep the pressure on the Government to make marriage equality a reality for same sex couples one way or another (ie: with or without a referendum).