New report reveals strong support for the introduction of same-sex marriage in Ireland

26 Feb 2009

81% of Irish believe that everyone should receive equal treatment from the state regardless of sexuality

Thursday, 26th February 2009: MarriagEquality today launched It's No Joke: Civil Marriage Right for Lesbians and Gay Men in Ireland, an investigation into attitudes and perceptions towards lesbians and gay men marrying in a civil ceremony in Ireland. A staggering 81%, or eight out of ten people believe that all people living in Ireland should receive equal treatment from the state regardless of whether they are lesbian, straight or gay. Indeed, six out of ten people believe that denying marriage to lesbians and gay men is a form of discrimination. The same number, six out of ten, further believe that excluding lesbians and gay men from marriage in a registry office is unfair.

Grainne Healy, Co-Chair, MarriagEquality commented, "The report is the first of its kind to reveal such unequivocal support for lesbians and gay men having the choice to marry in a civil ceremony in Ireland. The Government has a stated policy of equality and these findings support our call that Government must actively recognise that equality includes the human and civil rights of lesbian women and gay men to marry. The findings support MarriagEquality in our search for access, not to religious marriage, but to access marriage in a civil ceremony which will result in equal rights and recognition of our relationships and our children."

Ms Healy continued, "Opponents to civil marriage for lesbians and gay men claim that it should not be legalised as only a married man and woman should raise children. However there are many different family types in Ireland, including lesbians and gay parents. The Irish public recognise this fact with seven out of ten believing that being raised in a loving home is the key determinant in ensuring that children are happy and well."

It's No Joke also investigates attitudes towards the children of lesbian and gay parents with approximately eight out of ten people recognising the fact that all children should be treated equally by the state regardless of the sexuality of their parents. The proposed civil partnership legislation fails to acknowledge the parental role and responsibilities of lesbians and gay men to their children. Furthermore, the legislation ignores the rights of the child. In reality, all children should have access to their parents and receive the same recognition and rights from the state as the children raised by a married couple. Almost 6 out of ten people believe that the definition of the family should be changed in the constitution to recognise same-sex family units.

Moninne Griffith, Coordinator, MarriagEquality commented, "The Government claim that Irish people aren't ready for lesbians and gay men to have the choice to marry. They also claim that we'd need to have a referendum to change to constitution to allow same sex couples marry and that this would be divisive. We do not believe a referendum is necessary, however, if the courts found that one was necessary, the research shows that 62%, or six out of ten people would vote yes in favour of same-sex marriage if a referendum on the issue was held."

She continued, "The Irish Constitution is a living breathing document and is therefore open to interpretation by the Irish Courts to reflect changes and progress in Irish Society. As such, MarriagEquality believe that it is within the Government's power to legislate now for access to civil marriage for same-sex couples. Until the Government acts, Ireland is infringing upon the rights of a section of Irish society. There is no time to waste, equality for all people on this Island must become a reality."

For further information or the subject of same-sex marriage or a copy of It's No Joke visit or call 01 6599 459.

Media Contact: Andrew Hyland, Platinum PR, 087 9088 322 /