Progress on marriage equality being made at home and abroad
12 Dec 2012
Today, Marriage Equality renewed its calls for Ireland to be a leader in the movement for equality in light of recent progress on the issue both at home and abroad. At home, Saturday, December 1st marked the first meeting of the Constitutional Convention, which will look at 8 issues including marriage equality, while Monday, December 10th saw Wexford County Council vote in favour of a motion to support marriage equality.
"Now really is the time for marriage equality," said Marriage Equality Director Moninne Griffith. "We want Ireland to lead this movement for equality and not fall behind. As the push for equality for same sex couples and families gains momentum in countries like the United States, France and the UK, we call on our own political leaders to make it a reality here too. Irish people want this. Ireland is ready, with a strong majority of Irish people who think same sex couples should have the right to marry the person they love."
In the UK, this week also saw the formation of a new Conservative Party campaign group in favour of marriage equality, made up of 19 senior members of the Party including London Mayor Boris Johnson and Education Secretary Michael Gove. Marriage equality legislation is expected to be introduced in the UK before Easter 2013, with the first marriage ceremonies taking place in 2014.
In the United States, the Supreme Court has announced that it will take on both Proposition 8 - the constitutional amendment banning marriage equality in California - as well as United States v. Windsor - a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Arguments are expected to be heard before March, with decisions expected in June. Both cases will look at the constitutionality of banning same sex couples from marriage, and denying them 1138 federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples. This could lead to the constitutional ban to marriage equality being lifted nationally in the U.S. next year.
Sunday, December 9th also saw the first marriage ceremonies for same sex couples taking place across Washington State. Marriage equality was put to a referendum on November 6th, and was passed by 54% of the public vote. Over 130 couples were married in Seattle City Hall on Sunday, and over 600 marriage licences have been issued to date in King County alone.
"The Constitutional Convention is a huge opportunity for us as a country to take the next step as a modern, democratic country that has respect for diversity and that believes in equality," added Ms Griffith. "This is our chance to be leaders when it comes to equality for all, and to enshrine essential Irish values of justice, equality, fairness, and respect for all citizens in the Constitution."