DUBLIN, February 19, 2007 – The
Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has pre-announced an audit of TDs’ votes
for/against the Civil Unions Bill when voting takes place in the Dáil on
Wednesday, (February 21), it emerged at the weekend.
Students are to note precisely
which TDs try to block the legislation in the Second Stage vote which
follows debate on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
The Civil Unions Bill would end
discrimination against lesbian and gay people in many areas of law.
As students prepare to consider the
audit’s findings, USI urges TDs to bear in mind that the “overwhelming
majority” of the public support Civil Union legislation.
A Lansdowne poll, commissioned by
GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) and published at the end of 2006
found that 84% of respondents were in support of either civil marriage of
full civil partnerships for same-sex couples.
“Students will look to see how
every individual TD votes on this legislation,” USI’s lesbian and gay
spokesperson Steve Conlon said.
“Simply, we regard attitudes
towards Civil Union legislation as a litmus test of TDs’ support for
fairness and equality.
“Those who vote ‘Nay’ vote to
oppose these principles.
“Because lesbian and gay people
cannot currently enter into a Civil Union or marry, they are subjected to
statutory discrimination in many areas. The proposed Bill is a means to end
this discrimination,” he pointed out.
Mr. Conlon admitted that civil
unions were not the same as marriage. But he said that USI would continue
to seek justice for same-sex couples who should have the right to marry in
“Nevertheless, Civil Union
legislation would improve the State’s treatment of lesbian and gay people,
creating a better society for all,” he concluded.
USI President Colm Hamrogue said
that all eyes will be on TDs on Tuesday when this Bill is debated, and
especially on Wednesday when they will vote.
“The Labour Party is to be
commended for sponsoring such an important piece of legislation,” he said.
“By publicly announcing an audit of
how each individual TD votes – and communicating this to students across
Ireland – we will be encouraging our members to exercise their vote for
candidates who truly represent them,” he pointed out.
■ Anyone wishing to attend the Dáil
debate on either Tuesday or Wednesday should contact either Cathy or Kirsi
at the Labour Party HQ in Dublin – Tel: +353 1 678 4715 or 1 678 4700.
■ The debate can be seen world-wide
on the Houses of the Oireachtas website. Go to the
Oireachtas pilot live webcasts page and select
either the telecast or audio only for “OBU1 Dáil Éireann”
The Bill can be read
Civil Union Bill Will Give Legal Recognition to Same-Sex Unions.
By Brendan Howlin TD, Labour spokesperson on Justice. In many respects
the tabling of this Bill marks a significant watershed in our legislative
and social history. This week will mark the first time that the Dail
has been given the opportunity to consider legislation providing for the
recognition and registration of civil unions entered into between persons of
the same sex. (UK Gay News, February 18, 2007)
Irish Dail Debates Civil Union Bill for Gays Next Week. The Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament’s lower house), is set to debate and vote on
civil unions for gay couples next week. (UK Gay News, February 16,
Posted: 19 February 2007 at
11:00 (UK time)