Civil Partnership Law is “Litmus Test” of Government’s Commitment to Equality, Say Experts

11 Feb 2009

Top family law experts gathered at the Oireachtas today to brief elected representatives on the legal consequences and human rights implications of the Civil Partnership Bill.

Hailed as "the most comprehensive reform of family law in a generation" by experts including Dr. Fergus Ryan (DIT), the general Scheme of the Bill nonetheless falls short of providing full equality for same-sex couples and other non-traditional families.

Speaking after he briefed Oireachtas members and staff at a meeting organised by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), Dr Ryan said:

"This legislation will mark a watershed in modern Irish law. Full equality undoubtedly demands equal access to civil marriage. However, provided that the Bill lives up to the draft version published last year, it will be a robust step in the right direction."

ICCL Director Mr. Mark Kelly added,

"The General Scheme of the Civil Partnership Bill published by the Government last year was a staging post rather than a milestone on the road to full equality. The Oireachtas must now legislate to end discrimination against same-sex couples and other non-traditional families."

"Producing a genuinely comprehensive Civil Partnership Bill will be a litmus test of the Government's commitment to equality", he concluded.


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