It appears that same-sex marriage is going to the ballot- in Ireland. According to Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, there will be a referendum on same-sex marriage next year. His statements markt he first time that the coalition has commented on when the potentially divisive poll will be taking place.
Earlier this year, the Government’s own constitutional think-tank voted to advance same-sex marriage as part of the political agenda. The Constitutional Convention is set to send its report on marriage equality to the government in short order, and then the ministers have four months to respond to it.
The Coalition government is likely to agree to the referendum, and Gilmore has now set out a possible when. Despite some hesitation within the Fine Gael to have the referendum next year, Gilmore told the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network that “I suppose realistically we’re probably looking at next year sometime.”
When asked by GLEN about the referendum, Gilmore also said “Well the commitment we have given is that once the Constitutional Convention presents its report in respect of the part of the Constitutional Convention dealing with same-sex marriage, that report is going to be tabled I think this month, formally tabled.
He went on to say “There is then a four-month period for the Government to consider the report of the Constitutional Convention. We have committed that we will make a decision within that four-month period on what would be our response to the Constitutional Convention. Then in the case of a referendum on same-sex marriage, it would then be an issue of when that takes place after that. I suppose realistically we’re probably looking at next year sometime.”
Odds on are that the referendum vote will happen alongside others such as the possiblity of decreasing the voting age to sixteen.
Still, some want issues such as same-sex couple’s being able to adopt, and issues such as surrogacy should be addressed before same-sex marriage went to a referendum.
The Independent reported that “Justice Minister Alan Shatter is due to publish legislation dealing with those areas by the end of the year.”
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has not given his view on same-sex marriage, but has said he will not block the referendum and that he will issue a statement regarding it in due course.
Supporters of marriage equality in Ireland should expect the Roman Catholic Church to bitterly oppose and possibly heavily fight against its implementation.
For Ireland, this is a Constitutional matter as the Constitution of Ireland specifies that marriage is between a man and a woman.