Irish Parliament Rejects Gay Unions Bill
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: February 22, 2007 - 9:00 pm ET
(Dublin) The Irish Parliament has voted down
a bill that would have given gay and lesbian couples all of the rights of
marriage. The private members bill was introduced by Labor Party justice
critic Brendan Howlin was modeled after Britain's civil unions law.
In voting against the measure the government of
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said it went too far.
The government is preparing its own legislation
which it said would be brought in later this year. The bill is expected to
provide some recognition of same-sex relationships in property and inheritance
rights but deny gay couples adoption rights.
A government committee set up late last year to
study ways of providing rights to same-sex couples has yet to make its
Howlin said he was tired of foot dragging by the
Justice Minister Michael McDowell said the Howlin
bill would be unconstitutional because it equated civil partnerships with
marriage. The constitution says the government is obligated to defend the
institution of marriage, but it does not define it.
Howlin's bill was defeated by a wide margin among
government and opposition backbenchers.
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
Last December the high court ruled that
a couple wed in Canada cannot have that marriage recognized in Ireland.
In a 138 page judgment the court ruled that there
was no provision for same-sex marriage in the Irish constitution.