Senator Zappone Welcomes Referendum on Marriage Equality

5 Nov 2013

Press Release Tuesday 5th of November 2013




Senator Katherine Zappone, a long-time advocate of marriage equality, today welcomed the Government’s decision to hold a constitutional referendum on extending civil marriage to same-sex couples. Senator Zappone took part in the Constitutional Convention which voted in favour of the issue earlier this year.

She said, “In 2002 my life-partner, Dr. Ann Louise Gilligan, and I decided to seek legal recognition of our relationship. We got married in Canada in 2003 and subsequently took a case to have our marriage recognised by the Irish state in 2004. Since then we have worked with the leading advocacy groups on the issue: Marriage Equality, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, GLEN, LGBT Noise and Labour LGBT.  Today is an historic day for same-sex couples and their families.”

Senator Zappone praised the leadership of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and acknowledged thousands of people who participated in the March for Marriage Equality each year for the last five years. 

 Senator Zappone expressed her hopes for a respectful debate on the issue saying,

 “I hope that there will be a respectful debate in the coming months and that the public will actively engage with the issues involved. I am very heartened by the decision of the Constitutional Convention which voted overwhelmingly in favour of equality.  I have the hope and expectation that the Irish people will extend to same-sex couples the human right to marry the person they choose to love.”



Notes for Editors:

  1. Senator Katherine Zappone is an indepdendent Senator (Taoiseach’s nominee).
  2. For details on Senator Zappone and Dr. Gilligan’s case to have their Canadian marriage recognised by the Irish State see article: 
  3. For the couple’s memoires see their book ‘Our Lives Out Loud  in Pursuit of Justice and Equality’, O’Brien Press, 2008:
  4. The Constitutional Convention: 79% voted to change the Constitution to provide for civil marriage for same-sex couples. 78% favoured directive or mandatory wording in the event of such an amendment going ahead, meaning that the State should be obliged to enact laws providing for same sex marriage. 81% voted for the State “to enact laws incorporating necessary changed arrangements in regard to the parentage, guardianship and upbringing of children”.