gay-shamrockOver two years after Ireland legalized civil partnerships, a constitutional convention consisting of one-third politicians and two-thirds ordinary citizens has voted in favor of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Of the nearly 100 participants, 79 voted in favor of gay marriage, 19 against and the rest expressing no opinion. The convention has recommended a referendum to the government, which has promised to hold a debate and issue a response within four months.

According to The Irish Times, the convention also recommended that the government pass laws “incorporating changed arrangements in regard to the parentage, guardianship and the upbringing of children.”

Ireland’s LGBT advocacy groups hailed the convention’s vote as “an historic step” in a joint statement by Marriage Equality, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.

“It is a major milestone on the remarkable journey to full constitutional protection for lesbian and gay people and families in Ireland,” said GLEN director Brian Sheehan. “It builds on the extraordinary progress we have achieved over the last 20 years, and clearly demonstrates that Ireland is ready to take the next step to complete that remarkable journey.”

The Irish Catholic Bishops Conference, however, warned that same-sex marriage would make the roles of mothers and fathers completely irrelevant.

“While the result of the constitutional convention is disappointing, only the people of Ireland can amend the constitution,” a spokesman for the Catholic Communications Office said. “The Catholic church will continue to promote and seek protection for the uniqueness of marriage between a woman and a man, the nature of which best serves children and our society.”

(h/t: Gay Star News)

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