Monday 23 October 2017

Gay marriage referendum on cards for 2015

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

RUNNING the gay marriage referendum on the same day as the local and European elections is an option being examined by the Government.

The Cabinet will decide next week whether to hold a referendum on gay marriage.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to agree to a referendum on gay marriage in the lifetime of the Government.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar says a decision has yet to be taken by the Government and legislation on adoption and parenting rights would have to resolved before any referendum.

The minister said he was in favour of same-sex marriage and would like to see a referendum in the lifetime of the Government.

He said opting for the day of the elections next May was an "option" as it would guarantee a "decent turnout".

However, he also warned against rushing the referendum. "I'd rather have the referendum later and win it than have it sooner and lose it," he said.

Mr Kenny is continuing to consult with his party backbenchers about the issue.

Although there is still uncertainty over the timing, the Coalition is understood to be ready to announce its approval in principle. The referendum is likely to be held this time next year or early into 2015.

The Government has to signal its intention after the Constitutional think-tank recommended a referendum on same sex marriage be held.

The four months for considering the recommendation is now up.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is pushing for gay marriage referendum as early as next year.

Mr Gilmore is seeking to have a gay marriage referendum in Autumn 2014 or in Spring 2015.

But no agreement has yet been reached with Fine Gael, where Mr Kenny has still declined to give his own views on gay marriage.

Mr Gilmore said last weekend he wanted adoption and guardianship laws brought in before any referendum takes place.

Mr Kenny has repeatedly failed to say where he stands on the question of gay marriage and has studiously avoided questions on the issue.

Irish Independent

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