STATEMENT BY IVANA BACIK & EOIN HOLMES
Ivana Bacik, Leader Labour Party group, Seanad Eireann
Eoin Holmes, Labour Candidate, Meath East By-election
Tuesday 19th March 2013
LABOUR PUBLISHES MARRIAGE EQUALITY BILL
In line with its commitment to introducing full marriage equality, the Labour Party has today published a Bill to amend the Civil Registration Act to remove the statutory obstacle barring gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
The Civil Registration (Marriage Equality) Bill 2013 was launched today in Ashbourne by Labour’s Meath East by election candidate, Cllr Eoin Holmes, and the Leader of the Labour Party group in Seanad Eireann, Senator Ivana Bacik.
The Bill will remove a specific reference to gender from the legislation that facilitates civil marriages. Current laws require that couples are of the opposite sex.
Speaking about the Bill, Senator Bacik commented, "This simple amendment to the Civil Registration Act will remove the statutory bar which prevents same sex couples getting married. It will make it easier to achieve equality for same sex couples with opposite sex couples in availing of civil marriages. With the Constitutional Convention considering the issue of marriage equality in April, this Bill provides a simple method for removing the statutory obstacle so as to help enabling that to be achieved.
"Allowing same sex marriage is a core Labour principle. We are proud to be pioneering this legislation, just as Labour was to the fore in the decriminalisation of homosexuality over 20 years ago and by pushing for civil unions in advance of the introduction of civil partnership in 2010.
"As recently as last week Labour also introduced an amendment to the Employment Equality Act, to ensure that religious-run, or controlled, schools or hospitals, can no longer opt out of anti-discrimination laws. This will act as an important safeguard for LGBT employees, single parents, and others who currently face potential discrimination."
Cllr Eoin Holmes added, "Gay and lesbian people in Ireland have been to the fore in bringing about social change through their courage in coming forward and being true to themselves.
"I am encouraging people in Meath East to vote for a more modem, liberal, and tolerant Ireland by giving their support to the Labour Party. By publishing this Bill in Ashbourne we are demonstrating to voters Labour’s commitment to use our position in Government to bring about a better and fairer society for all Irish people."