TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore would like to see a referendum on same-sex marriage "as soon as possible".
Speaking earlier today, Mr Gilmore said his own view was the “time has come” for marriage of same-sex couples.
“I don’t believe we should postpone what is a human right,” he told RTE radio.
The Labour leader added that same-sex marriage will be one of the first issues examined by the constitutional convention, which needed to be “given the time to look at it”.
Mr Gilmore said it was “significant that this is one of the first issues to be looked at” by the constitutional convention, which is due to convene next month.
Advocacy group Marriage Equality welcomed the call by Mr Gilmore for a referendum.
“Now is the time for marriage equality, and we want Ireland to lead thismovement for equality along with countries like Spain and Portugal, and not fall behind,” Marriage Equality director Moninne Griffith said.
There was a “strong majority of people who think same sex couples should have the right to marry the person they love,” she said.
David Quinn of conservative think tank the Iona Institute said he believed the Government would lose a referendum on same-sex marriage “if it was foolish enough to expend precious political capital on it”.
Mr Quinn said it would be “wrong” of the Government to “seek to redefine marriage” which was “society’s way of saying children deserve the love of a mother and a father”.