Saturday 23 September 2017

Gilmore's call for gay marriage supported by Labour

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

LABOUR Party ministers yesterday firmly backed Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's call for gay marriage.

But Fine Gael ministers are more cautious, indicating different approaches within the Coalition on the question.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was challenged yesterday to say if he supports same-sex marriage as his ministers hid behind the forthcoming think tank on the Constitution.

While Mr Gilmore has come out in favour of gay marriage, Mr Kenny's views are still not known.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter indicated his support, without directly coming out and saying it. He said there was "nothing the Tanaiste said with which I personally disagree".

"I believe that individuals should be allowed to get on with their lives freely in circumstances in which their circumstances don't detrimentally impact on others," he said on Newstalk.

Mr Shatter also said he supported equality and civil partnership and that gay marriage would and should be examined by the Constitutional Convention.

Mr Shatter went further than any other Fine Gael minister.

Mr Kenny has assiduously avoided saying whether he is in favour of gay marriage. "The Constitutional Convention will look at the issue in depth in due course," his spokesman said.

Campaigners welcomed Mr Shatter's statement and called on Mr Kenny to follow suit.

Gay and Lesbian Equality Network chair Kieran Rose called on Mr Kenny to declare his support for marriage for gay couples.

"The time has come for the Taoiseach to indicate that he too supports equality for lesbian and gay couples," he said.

When asked for their views by the Irish Independent, Labour ministers Joan Burton, Ruairi Quinn and Brendan Howlin all said without any hesitation that they supported gay marriage.

Pride

Pat Rabbitte was unavailable for comment, but has long been a supporter of gay rights groups. During his time as Labour leader, he was a regular attendee at gay pride marches, including one occasion where he was pictured drinking a can of beer in public.

On the Fine Gael side, Jimmy Deenihan also said he had "no personal disagreement" with the comments by Mr Gilmore.

He believes that the Constitutional Convention, which forms part of the Programme for Government, "is the best way to bring the matter forward for consideration".

Leo Varadkar also said gay marriage will be discussed by the Constitutional Convention, "which will in turn make a recommendation to Government".

It's a basic human right, says Billy keane

Irish Independent

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