Ireland fails to recognises and protect the families and children of same sex couples.

14 Jul 2008

MarriagEquality welcomes the publication of the Joint Shadow Report by Irish NGOs to the UN ahead of this week's examination of Ireland under the ICCPR
Monday 14th July 2008: MarriagEquality is today endorsing the Joint Shadow Report published today by the ICCL, FLAC & IPRT in relation to Ireland's examination by the U.N. Committee's on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

MarriagEquality believe that the Irish Government should legislate for same-sex marriage to comply with Article 23 of the ICCPR Convention. To deny same-sex couples and their families and children the protection of civil marriage is to ignore them as a family as is intended by the Convention. This also discriminates against the children of same-sex parents based on the sexual orientation of their parents alone, which is against the spirit of the Convention.

The ICCPR was adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1966 and includes an extensive list of rights, including: the right to life; freedom from torture and inhuman treatment; the right to liberty and security; the right for detained persons to be treated with humanity and the right to recognition and protection of the family by Society and the State.

Ireland ratified the ICCPR in 1989 and has thus far been twice examined by the HRC; both in 1993 and in 2000.

Ireland's upcoming examination on the 14th and 15th July 2008 offers an important opportunity to spotlight the Government's performance under the ICCPR since its last examination.

In its list of issues submitted to the Ireland in May 2008, the UN Committee asked the Irish State to indicate whether the State intended to introduce legislation aimed at the recognition of same sex relationships. The State answered that it would legislate for civil partnerships as early as possible in the lifetime of the Government. However, it is clear from the Heads of a Bill on Civil Partnership that the Government does not intend to recognise the families of same sex couples as equal to those of married heterosexual couples.

Moninne Griffith, Coordinator, MarriagEquality commented, "We welcome the Joint shadow report published today. It clearly highlights that same-sex couples and their children are being failed by the state."

She continued, "Civil partnership as laid out in the Heads of the Bill will give rise to further discrimination against same sex couples as it is the only option available to them and is not available to opposite sex couples. It is a separate institution and it therefore reinforces inequality and segregation."

Marriage entitlements afforded to heterosexual couples will be denied to lesbian and gay couples under the proposed civil partnership scheme. MarriagEquality believe that the human right to marry should be extended to lesbian and gay couples in Ireland now in the same way as it has been done in Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, South Africa, Canada and Massachusetts and California in the U.S.

The Irish Government is saying that Irish people are not ready for lesbians and gay men to marry in a civil ceremony but research that supports a very different view. There has been a huge public shift in recent times on the issue. Almost 60% of Irish people think that lesbians and gay men should have the option to marry. Furthermore, an overwhelming 86% of people agreed that children of gay and lesbian parents should have the same family rights as other children.

There is a growing coalition of human rights organisations and individuals concerned with equality who are advocating for same-sex marriage as a way to protect same-sex couples and their families and children including the Irish Association of Social Workers and OPEN (representing lone parents' groups in Ireland).

MarriagEquality have made our own submission to the Third Periodic Report of Ireland under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. To read this click here.

Further information can be found on


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