Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern pledged he will push for the legalization of gay civil unions in his country, despite the fact that Ireland’s constitution presents significant legal obstacles. Prime Minister According to an article in Salon.com, Ahern was quoted as saying:
“Sexual orientation cannot, and must not, be the basis of a second-class citizenship. Our laws have changed, and will continue to change, to reflect this principle,” Ahern told an audience at Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network.
“This challenge…is one that the government is determined to meet. We are committed to legislating on this issue.”
Ahern’s pledge is especially significant because Ireland’s constitution is tied to the Roman Catholic Church, and there is a specific provision that states the Irish government must protect “the institution of marriage” as one man and one woman. In the neighboring United Kingdom, the recent legalization of gay civil unions was a much easier legal issue to tackle (besides the typical political opposition, of course), as no such provisions exist in British law. It was the UK’s decision that inspired Ireland to also legalize gay unions; but the two governments are structured very differently, and process will be a much harder issue to tackle this time around.
And that’s why we’re so impressed with the Prime Minister Ahern. Any political official willing to take on the laws of The Vatican, in order to promote equality for his own people, is our kind of guy. And we can’t help but feel a little green with Irish envy that a country so rooted in conservative religious doctrine can still get over their past and adapt to the times. Yet in America, we’re starting to teach school kids that evolution didn’t happen. And we shake, shake, shake our heads.
Ireland moves to legalize gay unions [Salon]