Campaigners Welcome Constitutional Convention's "Historic" Endorsement of Equal Marriage

14 Apr 2013


Joint News Release

Marriage Equality, Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)

Dublin, 14th April 2013

In a joint statement this afternoon (14 April 2013), advocacy groups Marriage Equality, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) have welcomed the strong endorsement today by the Constitutional Convention of equal marriage as "an historic step".

Following a weekend of presentations and discussions involving supporters and opponents of equal marriage, the constitutional reform body voted today by 79% in favour to recommend that the Government take steps to provide for equal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples.

The weekend's deliberations followed an unprecedented 1,000 plus submissions to the Convention, more than three quarters of which favoured marriage equality. The Convention, as per its Terms of Reference, will now submit a recommendation to Government to provide for equal recognition of marriage for same-sex couples. The Government will 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.

Welcoming the outcome of the Convention's deliberations today, Marriage Equality Director, Moninne Griffith said:

"we are delighted with today's result at the Constitutional Convention on the issue of same-sex marriage. This proves that Ireland is ready for equality for same sex couples and wants equal access to civil marriage for loving committed lesbian and gay couples. Recent polling reflects the vote today. Now is the time. We call on the Government to implement this positive recommendation as soon as possible to provide for 'same-sex marriage' in the constitution by putting this issue to the people of Ireland in a referendum."

GLEN Director, Brian Sheehan said:

"This is a historic day. It is a major milestone on the remarkable journey to full constitutional protection for lesbian and gay people and families in Ireland. It builds on the extraordinary progress we have achieved over the last 20 years, and clearly demonstrates that Ireland is ready to take the next step to complete that remarkable journey."

There have been two days of moving and emotional debate. We are delighted with the result, as will the hundreds of thousands of lesbians and gay people throughout Ireland. We would like to thank the members of the Convention, both ordinary citizens and political members, for the thoughtfulness, care and respect with which they dealt with the issue over the last two days. Their discussions were a powerful demonstration of the commitment to equality and further progress for lesbian and gay people in Ireland. This makes us even more proud citizens of Ireland."

ICCL Director Mr Mark Kelly said:

"This is landmark moment in the human rights history of Ireland. The Convention has voted by a decisive majority in favour of changing the Constitution to allow for civil marriage for same sex couples. The vote sends a clear message to Government that the time is right to ask the Irish people to remove one of the last bastions of official discrimination in Ireland. Successive polls have indicated that such a move is favoured by a majority in this state. Public engagement with the Constitutional Convention, and today's vote, bear this out. The ICCL looks forward to further engagement with the public on the subject of equal marriage in the coming months"