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.