12/27/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
Ireland cannot have marriage equality as of yet. First, they would need to amend their Constitution. Until that happens, though, civil partnerships will just have to do. Justice Minister Dermot Ahern has announced that the first official same-sex partnerships will be recognized beginning in April of 2011. The law legalizing same-sex couples entering into these partnerships goes into effect on 1 January 2011, but the first ceremonies have to begin three months later.
Those entering into civil partnerships will have the same rights as married, heterosexual couples including rights over shared homes, government payments and pensions, and so fort. Minister Ahern has gone on record saying that new law recognizes the variety of relationships available in the nation:
“Gay couples, whose relationships have not previously been given legal recognition by the State, may now formalise their relationships in the eyes of the law and society at large,” he said.
“Their relationships will be legally recognised and protected.
“Persons in committed gay relationships who wish to share duties and responsibilities now have the choice to register their partnership and become part of a legal regime that fully protects them in the course of that partnership and, if necessary, on its termination.”
One problem is the growing trend towards heterosexual couples wanting to enter into civil unions rather than getting married, and that this push for an unequal treatment between heterosexual and homosexual couples could actually be undermining the institution of marriage entirely.
The domestic partnership law does not cover children of such unions. My apologies.