In Ireland, lawmakers and members of the public will join forces at a forum on April 13 and 14 to debate equal marriage legislation. The so-called Constitutional Convention will examine the “provision for same-sex marriage” and whether the definition of marriage in the country would need to be changed legally.
In all, 66 Irish citizens and 29 members of parliament will be present to discuss the issue. The Convention will then make its recommendation to government within two months. It’s expected that a referendum will eventually need to take place before marriage equality can be introduced.
Support for equal marriage has gathered momentum in Ireland with only one major political party yet to back it. The Fine Gael party, currently in power, has nonetheless allowed its members attending the Convention to make up their own mind with many now publicly in favor.
Party leader and Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny, told 429Magazine last month that he would not state a position in advance of the forum, despite advocating family values.
“You’ll know we have the Constitutional Convention upcoming. My own view on the matter is irrelevant. But I will say, it is an issue,” said Kenny.
Regarding the prospect of a referendum on the issue, it is predicted that the Irish government will 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 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,” editor of GCN magazine Brian Finnegan told 429Magazine.
Currently in Ireland, same-sex couples can avail of civil partnerships which afford them some of the benefits enjoyed by married couples.