Seems like the Irish homos will have to wait a little longer before they marry: the nation’s Parliament deemed the Labour Party-endorsed civil unions bill to be unconstitutional. As in other parts of the world, much of the debate revolves around the definition of marriage: a nebulous institution protected by Article 41 of the Irish constitution.
It’s this legislative detail that opponents latched on to, insisting that the marriage bill threatened this singular article and, therefore, the entire constitution. One vocal contender, Justice Minister Michael McDowell said that while the bill didn’t pass, the government’s committed to extending rights to gays. Just not yet. In his speech, he recalled the country’s past experiences with discrimination:
From the very dark days of prejudice, a new tolerance has emerged based on our appreciation of the fact that homosexual people are in every respect entitled to be equally valued as members of society and not to be relegated to an inferior status.
His opponents, meanwhile, called his decision “shameful, shallow, and rowdy”, among other things. Yeah, those are all fine words, but we have another: shitty.
Despite the ruling, the government has vowed to revisit the issue. Until then, homos, you’ll just have to chill…