Government to oppose Bill
DUBLIN, February 20, 2007 – As
TD’s (MPs) assembled at the Dáil ahead of this evening’s debate on Labour’s
‘private members bill on Civil Unions, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI)
is strongly advising TDs to “vote for fairness”
“TDs must banish fear and
intolerance from their debate on Civil Unions,” said Steve Conlon, USI’s
lesbian and gay spokesperson.
“If every member of the public is
to retain full confidence in their local TD, then their local TD must vote
“Every TD claims to believe in
equal rights for all citizens, and the public expects them to vote
accordingly. Eligible voters will turn to the voting record on Thursday to
see that all TDs have put principle before prejudice,” he added.
The USI has already indicated that
it intends to publish an audit of TDs’ votes For/Against the Bill soon after
voting takes place.
Voters – who overwhelmingly endorse
Civil Unions for lesbian and gay couples in an opinion poll published at the
end of December – could interpret the audit as a “roll call of the
principled”, according to the student group.
“Irish people from every walk of
life are behind lesbian and gay citizens,” commented USI President Colm
“Like USI, the public strongly
wants the Civil Unions Bill to go forward and become law.
“Ultimately, equal marriage rights
for all must be the goal for Irish society, with an end to every vestige of
legal discrimination that afflicts lesbian and gay people.
“But in the short term, the Civil
Unions Bill offers a really significant improvement over the status quo.
“Students are strongly advising TDs
on this matter – do not thwart the public wish for fairness,” he added.
The Dáil debates the Civil Union
Bill this evening from 7pm (Dublin/UK time). The debate will continue
tomorrow (February 21) at the same time, with the vote being taken at about
The Labour Party in Dublin is reporting this afternoon
that all tickets to the public gallery of the Dáil have been allocated.
ICCL Welcomes Dáil Debate
The Irish Council for Civil
Liberties has welcomed the Dáil debate on the Civil Unions Bill, which seeks
to improve the rights of same sex couples.
Mr. Mark Kelly, Director, Irish
Council for Civil Liberties, said the Bill provided a significant
opportunity to debate the need for constitutional and legislative reform to
tackle the inequalities faced by same sex couples.
“This is the first time that the
Dáil will debate such legislation following upon recommendations from a
report by the Working Group on Domestic Partnership, which was published
last November. The ICCL has consistently campaigned for legal recognition of
the partnership rights of everyone living in Ireland,” he said.
“This debate is an important step
towards achieving our ultimate goal of an express right for all persons to
marry and found a family in accordance with the law, irrespective of gender
identity or sexual orientation,” he added.
The ICCL is campaigning for
constitutional reform and legislative reform to prioritise children’s rights
and to ensure that all persons have the right to marry and found a family,
regardless of their sexual identity or orientation.
Labour Youth Expresses
Speaking in advance of the
debate, Labour Youth Vice-Chair, Neil Ward said: “The Civil Unions Bill
being introduced by the Labour Party represents the first significant
commitment by a political party in this state, to equality of treatment for
“We warmly welcome this
legislation as a first step towards achieving full equality of opportunity
for those couples.
"Labour Youth, in conjunction with
Labour LGBT and Labour Equality have been campaigning for some time for a
referendum to be held on a constitutional amendment to allow for same-sex
marriage. We believe that this legislation represents a first step in that
direction, and that it clearly illustrates the Government’s lack of
commitment to date in this area.
“We call on all deputies,
including members of the Government parties, to support the Bill. Both
Taoiseach and Tánaiste have commented on the need for such legislation in
recent years, so we are hopeful that they will display their support for
the LGBT community by supporting this Bill. The Labour Party has produced
a comprehensive Bill which will deliver real equality of treatment for
countless couples who urgently require such protections.
“Same-sex couples have been
abandoned by the state for long enough. The Civil Unions Bill is a massive
step towards correcting that situation, and a step which should be embraced
by all,” he said.
The Irish Government said this afternoon that it will
be opposing the Bill.
■ 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
How TDs Vote
On Gay Civil Unions Bill Could Affect Election Prospects – USI.
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. (UK Gay News,
February 19, 2007)
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,
Union of Students Ireland website
Posted: 20 February 2007 at
15:30 (UK time)
Updated at 16:00