Yes Equality statement on the appearance of Mr.Justice Kevin Cross, Chair of the Referendum Commission, on Morning Ireland today, 19th May 2015

19 May 2015

Tuesday, 19th May 2015

Yes Equality welcome the ‘crystal clarity’ given this morning to the Marriage Referendum by Chair of the independent Referendum Commission, Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

On the difference between civil marriage and civil partnership Mr Justice Cross said;
“The main difference between civil partnership and marriage is that marriage is recognised in the Constitution and civil partnership is not. A married couple are a family, in the constitutional sense, and certain rights derive from being a family. In practice, there are very few practical differences between the rights of a married couples and civil partners; however, married couples have constitutional and legal protection, whereas civil partners have legal protection only.”
On the implied connection between the Marriage Referendum and surrogacy or adoption Mr Justice Cross strongly emphasised with great clarity;
“We have said time and time again, and I will say it again this morning, that the referendum is about marriage, and who may marry, and who may not marry. It is not, in our view, about adoption. It is not, in our view, about surrogacy…I repeat what I said a minute ago: it’s not about surrogacy either. I have spelt this out before. Both side in the referendum have said that they accept what we have said, so I must say that it… keeps on coming up is probably a reflection of the fact that I have not spelt it out clearly enough.”
When asked, “If the referendum is passed, does it not immediately follow that the terms ‘husband’, ‘wife’, ‘father’, and ‘mother’ are no longer valid in our statue books?”
Mr Justice Cross replied, “No”.
When asked about the impact of the passing the referendum would have on school curriculums Mr Justice Cross said;
“Schools who have a religious ethos…which don’t approve of same-sex marriage are not obliged to teach that as a moral institution in their religious classes, or as part of their ethos. At the moment, schools don’t teach that divorce is moral, for example. They, however, do recognise it as legal, as part of their civics class, and the same will apply for same-sex marriage, if that’s approved.”
Brian Sheehan, Yes Equality spokesperson said;
“Mr Justice Cross has given crystal clarity on the Marriage Referendum with regards to it being only concerned with extending civil marriage rights to gay and lesbian people. Irish citizens have engaged in rich and reflective conversation and we hope in these final days of the referendum, the electorate will make an informed decision on making secular marriage more inclusive for citizens in Ireland by voting Yes.

“We now ask that Irish people, informed by the clarity in Mr Justice Cross’ comments this morning will make their voice heard by voting Yes on Friday.”


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