Unprecedented support for marriage equality ahead of constitutional convention this weekend

12 Apr 2013


Joint News Release

Marriage Equality, Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Irish Council for Civil Liberties

Dublin, 12th April 2013

An unprecedented 1000 plus submissions on marriage for same-sex couples have been made to the Constitutional Convention in advance of its deliberations on the topic, which take place this weekend. Of the more than 1,000 submissions the Convention received, three quarters were in favour of marriage equality.

In a joint statement this morning (12 April 2013), advocacy groups Marriage Equality, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) have welcomed prospects for a balanced and enlightening discussion on civil marriage for same-sex couples in Ireland.

Marriage Equality Director, Moninne Griffith said:

“having read the submissions, we see cross societal support for this issue with submissions made from a number of Trade Unions, individuals, families, Amnesty International and the Equality Authority. Submissions from family and friends of lesbian and gay people were very informative, many stating that they wanted people they care about being treated equally in a modern Ireland where marriage is for everyone and where same sex couples and their families should have equal rights to the legal and state protections afforded by marriage.  The submissions reflect the current polls that say 75% or three quarters of the Irish population would vote yes in a marriage equality referendum.” 

GLEN Director, Brian Sheehan said:

“Thousands of lesbians and gay men and their families all across Ireland await the outcome of the Convention discussions this weekend. The delegates have the opportunity to advance the remarkable journey towards full constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people in Ireland. The move to civil marriage now is not a massive leap; it is an incremental step building on powerful civil partnership legislation and on the enthusiastic welcome by Irish people for the more than 1,000 civil partnerships that have already taken place in Ireland.”

ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

"Equality is binary state. Either one is equal or one is not. This weekend's discussion at the Convention on the Constitution is a golden opportunity to address one of the last bastions of legal discrimination in Ireland: the exclusion of same sex couples from full civil marriage. Only fully civil marriage constitutes full equality, and we are confident that the Convention will send a decisive message to the Government that this pernicious form of discrimination must be brought to an end".

After this weekend, the Convention, as per its Terms of Reference, will submit its recommendation to Government within two months on whether marriage equality should be provided for in the Constitution. TheGovernment has then promised to publish its decision on what it proposes to do with the recommendation within 4 months, including a decision on whether or not to hold a referendum on the issue.