Sunday 25 February 2018

Referendum strongly backed for same-sex marriage

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

A REFERENDUM should be held to provide for same sex marriage in the Constitution according to a resounding and historic vote passed by the Constitutional Convention.

This afternoon the convention voted by a margin of 79pc to change the constitution to allow for gay marriage.

The Convention on the Constitution is a forum of 100 people including 66 citizens, 33 politicians and an independent chairman, Tom Arnold.

Following the vote, a report will now be produced by the Convention and laid before the Oireachtas library.

After the report is submitted, the Government must respond within four months with a full debate.

If the proposal is passed by the Oireachtas, the Government is bound to produce a timeline  for a future same sex referendum.

If a referendum is passed recognising same sex marriage in the constitution new laws would be required in areas of parentage, guardianship and the upbringing of children.

These include issues such as adoption, custody and access.

New laws would also be required in the areas of maintenance, tax and inheritance.

The convention was asked to consider whether the Constitution should be changed to allow for civil marriage for same sex couples.

In addition, the members were asked whether if they voted in favour of change, should that change be permissive - ie the State 'may' enact laws providing for same sex marriage - or whether it should be directive, thereby compelling the State to enact laws.

78pc voted in favour of a directive amendment.

The convention was also asked whether the Government should be obliged (shall) enact laws incorporating "appropriate changed arrangements" in regard to the parentage, guardianship and upbringing of children.

A vast majority, some 81pc, also voted in favour of obliging the government to enact such laws.

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