17 Apr 2013

New Zealand win New Zealand win

17.04.13, Dublin:  Today, New Zealand’s Parliament passed marriage equality legislation by an overwhelming majority of 77 for and 44 against, becoming the 13th country to achieve marriage equality. Louisa Wall MP’s private member bill to amend the NZ Marriage Act and allow same-sex couples to marry passed its third reading in front of a packed house. A screening room had to be set up in another area of Parliament and people began queuing outside hours before the debate even began and all around the country people gathered around to watch the historical vote take place. Last week Uruguay became the 12th country to achieve marriage equality and the second country in Latin America, the first being Argentina, to recognize the marriage rights of same-sex couples

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. Following a weekend of presentations and discussions the constitutional convention in Dublin at the weekend voted by 79% in favour to recommend that the Government provide for equal recognition of civil 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 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 and a timeframe.

"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 as was shown by the overwhelming vote at the convention at the weekend. 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."

“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. A referendum on the issue here in Ireland is our opportunity for us as a citizens of this country to take the next step as a modern  democracy 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."