Irish county endorses marriage equality

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A county in Ireland voted Monday to back equal marriage. 

The motion to back marriage equality in Kerry passed comfortably and the county has become the 14th district of Ireland to have approved the matter. However, the Republic of Ireland will likely require a referendum to take place before the country can legislate for equal marriage.

Following recent parliamentary approval of the issue in both France and Britain, it is supported by all but one of the major Irish political parties and will be discussed at a Constitutional Convention later this year who will then make a recommendation to Government.

Though the motion was endorsed almost universally in Kerry, its main proponent, Councillor Gillian Wharton-Slattery, told local radio that she had been put under pressure to “withdraw or water down” what would be discussed.

A vocal opponent of the proposal was Danny Healy-Rae (pictured). A member of a prominent political dynasty in the region. He voted against due to issues with equal adoption. The councillor encountered controversy in January when he proposed that patrons of rural public houses be exempted from drink driving laws. 

The endorsement will mean a continued momentum for the marriage equality campaign in Ireland, according to Brian Finnegan, editor of Irish LGBT publication GCN.

“I absolutely welcome this great development, it comes on the back of several county councils voting to approve equal marriage. These are coming almost on a monthly basis and it is clear that they represent the will of the people,” he told 429Magazine.

Regarding the prospect of a referendum on the issue, Finnegan predicted that the Irish Government would wait on a challenge being brought to court by Katherine Zappone and Ann-Louise Gilligan, a couple already married in Canada, over the country’s restriction over equal marriage before attempting to legislate.

“The Government will likely wait on this case before taking a decision. [In the event of a referendum] I imagine there will be a heavily funded campaign to make the Irish people vote no,” Finnegan added. 

Since the introduction of Civil Partnerships for Irish same-sex couples in January 2011, almost 1,000 partnerships have been recorded; 18 of these in Kerry. 

In a positive weekend for the Irish LGBT community, Europe’s first transgender MP, Anna Grodzka of Poland, who was elected in 2011, addressed a conference in Dublin on Saturday.

 

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