'Historic day' for same sex couples as landmark Marriage Bill 2015 introduced
Today marks the first occasion same sex couples in Ireland feel they are "equal citizens", the head of Marriage Equality has said.
She was speaking as the landmark Marriage Bill 2015 was introduced by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in the Dail this morning.
It paves the way for the first official same sex unions to take place before the end of the year.
Members of Marriage Equality gathered outside Leinster House before entering the Dail gallery to "witness history unfold."
Grainne Healy, chair of the group, said it was a "historic day" for the gay community in Ireland.
"This is a momentous occasion, and it's great the Minister is going to introduce the legislation today," she told independent.ie
"It's the end of a long journey - and for those of us in Marriage Equality - it took us 10 years to get here.
"It's a wonderful occasion, all the more so, because the referendum was such a huge win.
"For so many couples today is the day when finally they feel they are equal citizens, and that their relationships will be recognised."
The bill will go through a number of stages in the Dáil and the Seanad, which could take several weeks.
The Marriage Equality Referendum was passed by an overwhelming majority, and the result made Ireland the first country in the world to introduce gay marriage by a popular vote.
More than 60pc of citizens voted in favour of the change to the Constitution.
The vote was also enthusiastically welcomed by gay and lesbian rights groups across the globe.
A legal challenge mounted against the referendum result was shot down by both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
The two individuals who brought those cases have since lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court.