Gay couples call for full rights

23 Aug 2010

March for Marriage Pic March for Marriage Supporters


SAME-SEX couples should not be grateful for being given half the rights of married couples in Ireland, a demonstration to highlight shortcomings in civil partnership legislation was told yesterday.

Anna McCarthy, organiser with Noise, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender campaign group, said while the introduction of civil partnership legislation may have been a victory for decency, it was not a victory for equality or civil rights.

More than 2,000 people took part in the march in Dublin city centre yesterday afternoon from City Hall to the Department of Justice on St Stephen's Green.

Organisers said the Government had tried to "pacify" the gay community but had failed. They called for the right to marry for same-sex couples. The Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2009, signed into law last month, extended marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples in some areas but did not address the rights of children.

Ms McCarthy said the legislation had given same-sex couples half the rights of heterosexual couples. "As citizens of this country we should not be grateful that we have been given a select number of the rights of everybody else," she said.

"We may acknowledge it is better than no rights, but in tandem with this express our outrage that we are being denied the other half."

Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International in Ireland, said the demonstration was a resounding answer to those who had dismissed the call for full equality. He urged the Government to "cherish all the children of the nation equally".

Demonstrators Feargha Ní Bhroin and Linda Cullen from Dublin, with their four-month-old twins in tow, said the legislation did not help them in any way in relation to their children.

"These babies will not be able to inherit from their non-biological mother. They will be strangers in law; they can be willed , but they will be taxed as strangers," Ms Cullen said.

Pádraig Moran from Roscommon said with the introduction of the legislation the Government was "asking people to take part in something that denigrates them". "It is a second class system," he said.

Article taken from the Irish Times.