passage ways

Ireland Is 1 Presidential Signature Away From Civil Unions

It wasn’t the perfect score I was hoping for, but Ireland’s Seanad passed the civil partnerships bill in a 48-4 vote, sending the bill to the desk of President Mary McAleese, who can either sign it into law or send it to the Supreme Court for a constitutionality check.

In case you want names, it was Sens. Ronan Mullen, Labhrás Ó Murchú, John Hanafin and Jim Wals who voted against the bill — “on moral and conscience grounds,” says the Irish Times. “Among the objections voiced by Senators was the absence of a conscience clause for public servants to allow them opt out of the process. They also argued against the right to hire Church premises for celebrations of same-sex unions.”

And this is interesting: For the first time in two decades in the Seanad, the chamber’s leader Sen. Donie Cassidy “guillotined” the debate and demanded a vote. I would have too; they were there for 23 hours.

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  • me

    it’s a shame that ireland is so resistant to the gay because the world’s most attractive men all have irish roots

  • Kieran

    Amazing that the vote in the Upper House of the Irish Parliament wasn’t even close. Catholic Ireland has come a LONG way regarding acceptance of gay rights. Who would have thought just a few years ago that Ireland would be a more gay friendly place than the state of Hawaii?

  • Paschal

    Support for civil partnership is at 84% in Ireland while supprt for marriage equality is at 62% and support for adoption by gay couples is at 54%. Ireland’s popularly elected lower house passed the bill without a vote. That isn’t to say that all members supported it. All parties did.

    Ireland has a whip system so all members of a parliamentary party have to vote with their party. If they don’t, they usually lose the whip and therefore are put out of the parliamentary party. Some lower house politicians called for a ”conscience clause” to allow a registrar to refuse to officiate at a civil partnership ceremony. None of the parties backed the idea and no amendemnt was tabled in the lower house on that issue. Not many politicians attended the passage of the bill in the lower house probaly beacuse there was no chance of any of the five parties in the lower house opposing the passage of the bill. Three members of the main governing party in the upper house resigned the whip so that they could vote against it.

    The upper house is elected using three methods. It’s not directly elected. Six members are elcted from the graduates of two universities (well one is now separated into several educational institutions). Eleven are appointed by the prime minister. The remaining 37 are elected by an electoral college of incoming members of the lower house, outgoing senators and sitting councillors. It does not have the power to stop a bill but provides a process of revision and has a better syandars of debate than the lower house.

    This chamber is home to Ireland’s two openly gay senators. The university seats are filled with people who have diverse opinions, from very liberal to conservative. I know that the universuty seats seem undemocraic. Any government elected using a system which favours one group is terible as some people are far more likely to be treated better than others. But the upper house doesn’t decide the government. The university senators provide very good debate. The debate on the civil partnership bill in the upper house was FANTASTIC. 29 senators spoke. Four of these voted to oppose the bill. Support was voiced from all parties including the two main parties which are centre-right. Irish politics is very different from U.S. politics but I won’t get in to it.

    Ireland is more gay-friendly than you think. The town I live in has a population of under 20,000 in a rural province yet has an annual pride parade. This year’s one is on 7 August. There still is homophobia in Ireland which needs to be tackled and defeated. Inequality still exists in law but, with people continuing to fight for equality and fairness, Ireland is on its way towards treating its lgbt citizens with the dignity and respect they deserve.

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