Government Short Change Lesbians and Gay Men with Civil Partnership Bill

26 Jun 2009

Introduction of same-sex civil marriage ignored despite public support

Following the publication of the civil partnership bill today, MarriagEquality is calling on the Government to acknowledge that the bill is forcing lesbians and gay men to accept a second rate set of rights, and ensures that lesbian and gay relationships will be regarded as inferior to married couples. MarriagEquality advocate that the Government instead move to provide lesbians and gay men with equality by providing access to civil marriage.

Research conducted by Lansdowne Market Research shows that 81% of the public agree that everyone should receive equal treatment from the state regardless of their sexuality. 61% further believe that denying lesbians and gay men civil marriage is a form of discrimination.

Grainne Healy, Co-Chair, MarriagEquality, commented, "MarriagEquality want equal marriage rights for lesbians and gay men. Civil partnership is not marriage like, and does not confer marriage like rights on lesbians and gay men who choose to legally register their relationship through it. The civil partnership legislation is deficient on so many levels and discriminates against lesbians, gay men and their children to such an extent that MarriagEquality are calling on to Government to legislate for civil marriage now."

A deeply upsetting aspect of the civil partnership legislation is that the Government has totally ignored lesbian and gay parents and their children. In reality all children should have equal access to their parents and vice-versa, and should have the same rights as all children in Ireland. 75% of the public believe that all children should be treated equally by the state. Furthermore, a same-sex couple will not be eligible to apply to be considered to adopt a child under civil partnership: not even the child of their registered civil partner.

Moninne Griffith, Director, MarriagEquality said, "Discrimination against lesbians and gay men continues through the announcement of the civil partnership bill. It simply isn't enough and reinforces the belief that we are outsiders on the margins of society. The fact that through this bill the Government has given us 'some' rights but not equal rights is fundamentally flawed. Lesbians and gay men should be entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as their straight counterparts. The time for change is now."

Ms Griffith continued, "Ireland is in the midst of uncertain times, and whether gay, lesbian or straight we must unite to overcome adversity. The same is true for the matter of equal access to civil marriage. It is not just an issue for lesbians and gay men, but for every human being on this island. Until Ireland is a society of equals, we must unite and fight for what is right."

Further information on MarriagEquality can be found on or by calling 01 6599 459.

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