Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair said: “We warmly congratulate the hundreds of lesbian and gay couples who have had civil partnerships. Their happy celebrations, in every county in Ireland, have allowed family, friends and community to recognise these committed relationships. Civil Partnership has transformed the lives of these couples and given them enormously greater security, recognition and status.
“Over 750 couples have availed of civil partnership, which 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. They are bringing the day of civil marriage much, much closer.”
“I believe in gay marriage,” he said. “The right of gay couples to marry is, quite simply, the civil rights issue of this generation, and, in my opinion, its time has come.”
Today, Mr Rose praised progress made in the Dáil and the Seanad since the civil partnerships system was introduced through actions which have been “critically enhancing” the provisions of the law.
He welcomed the Finance and Citizenship Acts, which provided for further equality in the treatment of civil partners.
He continued: “Public and political support continues to grow for further progress for lesbian and gay couples. Civil Partnership has laid the ground for the introduction of civil marriage.
“With the success of civil partnership, the ‘next stop’ for the wedding bus is civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples.
“Now is the time to move full Constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people by providing access to civil marriage. This is not a massive legislative leap; it is the next step building on the success of Civil Partnership legislation.”
Later this year, a 100-person constitutional convention will meet to examine potential changes to the Irish Constitution and will report to the government on the question of marriage rights for gay couples.