Sunday 25 September 2016

Court appeal could delay Ireland's first gay weddings

Published 29/08/2015 | 02:30

It's believed the challenge will delay gay couples' right to wed by a number of weeks, as legislation cannot be signed into law while the case is before the courts
It's believed the challenge will delay gay couples' right to wed by a number of weeks, as legislation cannot be signed into law while the case is before the courts

A gardener and electrician have launched a last-ditch legal challenge contesting the outcome of May's same-sex marriage referendum.

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Gerry Walshe, from Lisdeen Road, Co Clare, and Maurice J Lyons from Callan, Co Kilkenny, lodged two applications for leave to appeal with the Supreme Court on Thursday.

It's believed it will delay gay couples' right to wed by a number of weeks, as legislation cannot be signed into law while the case is before the courts.

The men and respondents now have one week to lodge various paperwork.

However, it has not yet been determined that the case will appear before the court.

New rules introduced last year mean the Supreme Court may deal with the applications without a hearing - just dealing with written submissions.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Mr Walshe said his argument stems from "governmental influence" during the run-up to the referendum.

"We are pursuing this case because we feel the Government and other organisations had undue influence on the outcome of this referendum.

"There was funding provided to the Yes Campaign from charities and other organisations and we believe this is wrong.

"You also had the GRA (Garda Representative Association) appearing with Yes Campaign logos in photos," he added. "They are supposed to be an impartial organisation."

The men, who are representing themselves, have already had cases thrown out after High Court and the Court of Appeal proceedings.

The three-judge Court of Appeal rejected separate claims from the men earlier this year.

Tiernan Brady of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network says the processes is "disappointing".

"We welcome this process and are aware that it has to happen. It is the legal right of those bringing the case.

"However, it is very disappointing. This has already been heard and thrown out by the High Court and Court of Appeal.

"Taking it to the Supreme Court is only delaying the will of the people.

"The Irish people had their say in relation to marriage equality and that say was a resounding yes. It is disappointing," he said.

The May 22 referendum proposal allowing for same-sex marriage was supported by 62.07pc of voters.

Some 1,201,607 people voted yes compared with 734,300 (37.93pc) who voted against. Voter turnout was 60.52pc.

The Government announced in June that it hoped to fast-track legislation to allow for same-sex marriage by early autumn.

Irish Independent

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