Gay Marriage in Ireland

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Same-sex marriage has been legal in Ireland since 16 November 2015. A referendum on 22 May 2015 amended the Constitution of Ireland to provide that marriage is recognised irrespective of the sex of the partners. The measure was signed into law by the President of Ireland as theThirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland on 29 August 2015. The Marriage Act 2015, passed by the Oireachtas on 22 October 2015 and signed into law by the Presidential Commission on 29 October 2015, gave legislative effect to the amendment. Marriages of same-sex couples in Ireland began being recognised from 16 November 2015 and the first marriage ceremonies of same-sex couples in Ireland occurred on 17 November 2015.

Civil partnerships, granted under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, gave same-sex couples rights and responsibilities similar, but not equal, to those of civil marriage.

The 2011 Irish census revealed 143,600 cohabiting couples, up from 77,000 in 2002. This included 4,042 in same-sex relationships, up from 1,300.

1695 civil partnerships were registered in Ireland, between 2011 and 2014. 1048 of them had been between men and 647 had been between women.

Following Ireland’s legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2015, the ability to enter into a civil partnership was closed off. As of 16 November 2015, no further civil partnerships are granted in Ireland and existing civil partners only retain that status if they do not marry. Any civil partnership converted into a marriage is dissolved.

On 16 September 2015, following the High Court’s rejection of the legal challenge contesting the validity of the referendum result, Fitzgerald brought the Marriage Bill before cabinet. A spokesperson for the minister’s department stated that “the aim is to have the Bill enacted as quickly as possible, subject to the legislative process, so that the first same-sex marriages can take place this year.” Under the legislation, the first same-sex marriages will be those of couples who convert a notification of their intention to register a civil partnership into a notification of their intention to marry. The Marriage Bill passed all stages of the legislative process in the Oireachtas on 22 October 2015. On 29 October 2015, the bill was signed into law by Presidential Commission, thus becoming the Marriage Act 2015.

Support is strongest among younger voters. Sinn Féin and Labour voters are somewhat more in favour than Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Among those intending to vote yes in January 2015, 33/77 had “some reservations about same-sex marriage”, and 29/77 had “some reservations about adoption by gay couples”. A poll conducted a week before the referendum by the Irish Times showed that women supported same sex marriage more than men.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Same-sex marriage in Ireland, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.