Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ireland to get civil partnership

Ireland To Legalize Gay Civil Partnerships
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: July 25, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Dublin) Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced Wednesday that his government will bring in legislation giving same-sex couples the same rights as married pairs.

The legislation would be similar to Britain's civil partnership law that gives gay and lesbian couples all of the rights of marriage except the name.

Ahern said he would push through the legislation "as soon as possible".

"This Government is committed to providing a more supportive and secure legal environment for same-sex couples," he said.

The announcement comes at the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case involving same-sex marriage rights and five months after a private members bill that would have allowed civil unions was defeated in Parliament.

The court case involves Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone an Irish couple who were married in Canada and want the marriage recognized at home. (story)

Last December a lower court ruled that the marriage cannot be recognized under the constitution.

The private members bill was introduced by Labor Party justice critic Brendan Howlin and was modeled after Britain's civil partner law. At the time Ahern said that the bill equated civil partnerships with marriage and after warning the legislation would be rejected by the Supreme Court Parliament his government voted against the measure.

But Ahern conceded that same-sex couples need legal protections.

Since then Ireland's LGBT community has pressed the government to act.

Two government committees have recommended civil partnerships but without many of the rights of marriage, including the right of couples to adopt children.

Recent public opinion polls show that 84 percent are in favor of some recognition of same-sex couples while 53 percent would allow gay couples to marry.

© 2007

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