Civil Partnership Without A Civil Marriage Option Will Promote Discrimination Towards Gay And Lesbian People

3 Dec 2009

MarriagEquality Urge Government to Upgrade Civil Partnership to Civil Marriage

MarriagEquality have today issued a letter to An Taoiseach Brian Cowen urging that he intervene so that the proposed Civil Partnership legislation be upgraded to legislation that would give equal civil marriage rights to same-sex couples. MarriagEquality argues that civil partnership as the only option for same-sex couples promotes inequality. A copy of the letter sent to the Taoiseach is available on

MarriagEquality is currently completing a Marriage Audit comparing the rights that flow from marriage to those contained in the proposed civil partnership bill. Preliminary results of the audit indicate that gay and lesbian couples who avail of civil partnership will have significantly fewer rights than heterosexual people who can marry. The Government is not prioritising equality for lesbian and gay families in this proposed legislation.

Moninne Griffith, Director of MarriagEquality said, "Civil partnership without the option to marry, sends a clear message out to the public that the Government do not consider gay and lesbian relationships to be equal. Civil partnership, without a civil marriage option, promotes inequality and may contribute to homophobia. "

Ms Griffith continued, "Civil partnership is a limited legal recognition of same-sex relationships. It does not grant family status to a couple, and leaves children with same-sex parents in an appalling position. We are saying the bill is not enough and the Government must acknowledge this and provide for civil marriage rights for lesbian and gay families now.''

Ross Golden-Bannon, Spokesperson, MarriagEquality said, "MarriagEquality is not alone in its call for equality. Amnesty International, the National Women's Council and the Irish Association of Social Workers have publicly called for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has also emphasised that only the introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples will achieve full equality of status with opposite-sex couples."

MarriagEquality is a campaigning group working for equal marriage rights for same sex couples in Ireland. The Government's 2006 Colley Report concluded that marriage equality is the only way to give equality to lesbians and gay men in Ireland. In contrast to the conclusions of its own report, the Government insists on progressing with a Civil Partnership Scheme which effectively denies lesbians and gay men equality.

Access to marriage in a civil ceremony will result in equal marriage rights and full legal and social recognition of lesbian and gay relationships and vindicate the rights of children whose parents are same-sex. MarriagEquality believes that it is within the Government's power to legislate for access to civil marriage for same-sex couples and calls on them to do so now. More information can be found on

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