Authority wants to see gay marriage

10 Aug 2011

(via the Irish Times)

POLITICIANS ARE out of touch with the public mood on the issue of gay marriage, Equality Authority chairwoman Angela Kerins has suggested.

Ms Kerins welcomed the passing of legislation allowing for civil partnerships to take place, but stressed the Equality Authority remained committed to seeing gay marriage introduced.

"If you look at the opinion polls now in relation to marriage equality, the ordinary people of Ireland are really in support of it, the vast majority of people now are supporting equal marriage," she said, "so I think politicians will catch up with that.

"The people of Ireland have come around and they're prepared for it and we just need the politicians to catch up with that . . . If the people of Ireland strongly support this, I think politicians will follow through too."

At the launch of the Equality Authority's annual report for 2010 yesterday, Ms Kerins said opinion polls had consistently showed a continuous increase in support for gay marriage.

An Irish Times /Behaviour Attitudes poll in September of last year showed just over two-thirds of people, or 67 per cent, believed gay couples should be allowed to marry.

Ms Kerins said all families should be treated equally and legislation had to keep up with changes in the make-up of families. The "modern diversity of parenting arrangements" should be acknowledged in family law, "so that the rights and responsibilities of both the mother and the father and all those in a parenting role are appropriately recognised".

Ms Kerins said the Equality Authority had been working on the area of family rights, particularly the rights of children and the involvement of fathers in their lives.

The planned referendum on children's rights offered an opportunity for a "national debate" in relation to the rights of children and their families.

"I would urge the Government to take courageous steps in this area to ensure that every child and every family is recognised and supported equally."