Yes Equality welcomes legal clarity brought to debate by Referendum Commission

15 May 2015

Legal path has now been cleared to allow us to discuss the real issue – equality

Yes Equality Press release, For immediate release
Friday 15 May 2015

Yes Equality: The Campaign for Civil Marriage Equality has welcomed the legal clarity brought to the marriage equality referendum debate following the detailed interview with Mr Justice Kevin Cross, chair of the Referendum Commission, published in the Irish Times today (Friday 15 May 2015).

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Justice Cross addressed some of the issues which have featured in the referendum debate on civil marriage equality to date. He confirmed beyond doubt that:

• A yes vote allowing Civil Marriage Equality “won’t redefine what marriage is. It will redefine clearly the view as to who can marry”
• “a married couple enjoy constitutional as well as legal protection. A civil partnership couple only enjoy legal protection. Legal protection can be taken away, amended, or reduced by an Act of the Oireachtas.”
• “Surrogacy at the moment is not regulated by law. It is intended to regulate it by law. That regulation will apply irrespective of whether the referendum is passed or not.”
• “Nobody has a right to adopt. People have the right to apply to adopt … Adoption is regulated by law. At the moment adoption is available to married persons, to single people, and as of recently, to same-sex couples. There will be no change in that if the referendum is passed”
• “There is no right to a mother and a father. Many children don’t have a mother and a father, and there is no way that they can enforce any such supposed right. It doesn’t exist in law.”
• “There is no obligation upon a priest to perform the solemnising function at any marriage.”

Speaking today, Yes Equality spokesperson Grainne Healy said:

“Again, Mr Justice Cross has confirmed that the core issue, and the only issue being put before the people of Ireland on 22 May, is that of Civil Marriage Equality.”

“Today’s statements by the Referendum Commissioner Mr Justice Kevin Cross clarify yet again that neither surrogacy nor adoption has anything to do with the civil marriage equality referendum. Mr Justice Cross has made it clear that marriage is not being redefined, but simply being made available to Ireland’s lesbian and gay citizens. We can now move beyond these distractions to debate what this referendum is really about – equality”.

“Civil Marriage Equality is not a legal abstract. It is important to thousands of real people across Ireland. Men, women and children in our families, workplaces and communities. Civil partnership is a lesser, unequal, unprotected status. Marriage matters, and would provide Ireland’s gay and lesbian citizens, and their families, with full constitutional equality.”



Walter Jayawardene, Yes Equality Communications Coordinator, 087 9981574