Civil Partnership Does Not Deliver Equality For Citizens

13 Jun 2011

Long-term, committed relationships between lesbian and gay couples are still treated as second class by the Irish state according to civil rights group Marriage Equality.

As the Dáil prepares to debate a Bill that would confer tax benefits on gay and lesbian couples in civil partnerships, Marriage Equality confirmed that its campaign for full equality for all citizens would be intensified in the coming months.

"Over the coming weeks the Dáil will finalise the civil partnership regime introduced last summer. While the largely informed and mature nature of the debate regarding civil partnerships has been a welcome development it is vital that politicians and policy makers recognise that lesbian and gay people in Ireland will not tolerate being treated as second-class citizens, which unfortunately is the situation under the civil partnership regime," said Moninne Griffith of Marriage Equality.

"Marriage Equality has completed a comprehensive 'marriage audit' that highlights more than 100 grounds where the denial of an entitlement to marriage has real impacts on the lives of lesbian and gay people. Across a range of vital areas such as children's rights, criminal law and housing, gay and lesbian couples in civil partnerships are treated differently, and in nearly every case, as having less human rights. This is intolerable in modern Ireland.

"Marriage Equality will release the results of its 'marriage audit' in the coming weeks. It will present an irrefutable case for full equality for same sex couples, our families and our children. We will also be pleased to present our analysis and experience to the promised Constitutional Convention which is charged with reporting on the options for marriage equality within 12 months of its establishment.

"The struggle for recognition and equality for gay and lesbian people has been hard fought. The civil partnership regime we now have in place in no way represents a conclusion to that struggle. Irish law still demeans the committed, loving relationships of lesbian and gay couples. Our campaign to ensure that all couples, and all relationships, are treated equally will intensify over the coming months."