- November 5, 2013
Post submitted by Limor Finkel, Former HRC Global Engagement Program Coordinator
A spokesperson for the Irish government released a statement saying that Prime Minister Enda Kenny will call for a “Yes” vote on same-sex marriage. Until today, Prime Minister Kenny had not publicly expressed his stance on the issue of marriage equality. His call for the vote confirms that a same-sex marriage referendum, set for 2015, will actively move forward in the coming months.
Prior to his announcement, Prime Minister Kenny had obstinately avoided questions relating to his personal stance on allowing same-sex couples the right to marry. Kenny’s approval of the referendum indicates that his political party, Fine Gael, also supports the right for same-sex couples to marry with all the legal benefits and protections that their heterosexual counterparts are afforded. Fine Gael, a centrist political party, supported civil unions for same-sex couples in Ireland as far back as 2003.
Last week Eamon Gilmore, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland, said he “wants adoption and guardianship laws brought in before any referendum takes place.” Gilmore had initially pushed for the same-sex referendum to be held in the Fall 2014 or Spring 2015.
In a 2013 survey, an overwhelming majority of Irish citizens—over 70%--agreed “same sex marriage should be allowed in the Constitution.”
Just a few months ago, Ireland’s neighbors, England and Wales, passed a same-sex marriage bill after a 15-year fight to get the legislation passed. With such a clear majority of Irish citizens supporting marriage equality in the Constitution, Ireland will hopefully pass similar legislation in the coming months.