Ireland: Campaigners press for gay marriage
Original article: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0719/breaking48.html
The provision of civil partnerships for gay and lesbian couples had “transformed” attitudes to gays and lesbianism general, campaigners on the issue have said.
They added that and legislation for gay marriage would complete the push for equality in this area.
Kieran Rose, chairman of the Gay, Lesbian, Equality Network (Glen), said public and political support for gay marriage was increasing.
Speaking at an event in Dublin to mark the 2nd anniversary of the Dáil and Seanad’s passing of the civil partnership legislation, Mr Rose said over 750 couples had availed of civil partnership.
“It has given them marriage-like rights and protections. Many hundreds of other couples have had their foreign civil marriages or civil partnerships recognised as Irish civil partnerships.
“All of these couples are pioneers who are transforming perceptions of lesbian and gay relationships.”
He said marriage was fundamentally about two people making a strong commitment to each other, to love and cherish each other for the rest of their lives. Many gay and lesbian couples had children, too he continued.
“It is about equality of status and civil marriage would mean that for gay couples.”
Martina Malone, who celebrated her partnership of 16 years with Deirdre Judge, at a civil ceremony in Dublin last year, said she felt she was no-longer as regarded as a “second-class citizen”.
“I felt wonderful the next day. I just feel your relationship is not taken seriously unless it’s taken seriously by the State.”
Her friends and family “were quite taken aback” at their plans for civil partnership “but they fully accepted it and enjoyed the day”.
She said marriage was a natural next step that put people on an equal footing.
“Once people see it isn’t going to mean the end of the world, I think people will be more fully accepting of gay and lesbian relationships in general, that they are not ’strange’ or ’other’ to the rest of society.”