(Gay) Marriage and the State

09Dec08

Ever since taking up this job with RTÉ radio, working on a show aimed at the gay community, I’ve become much more aware of what’s going on around me in terms of gay rights, especially regarding gay civil marriage.

For those reading this from outside of Ireland, let me explain that gay marriage is not yet legal in the Republic of Ireland. The main excuse from the government is that the concept of full gay marriage goes against Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic, on account that it threatens the . An Seanadóir David Norris has stated that this is not true, but one must take into account that the ‘Bunreacht’ was founded deep in Roman Catholicism.

Numerous activist groups have noticed that this excuse is invalid in 21st Century Ireland, as the Bunreacht states:

1° The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of
Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

This makes no issue of heterosexual or homosexual couples or parents, although one can accept that when it came into force (in 1937), homosexuality was a criminal act.

There is a different Ireland, however, to the Ireland that was founded in the 1920s and ’30s. Activist group LGBT Noise show that difference quite well, as they campaign for gay civil marriage in the Republic. Their most recent protest took place last Saturday at the Civil Registry Office in Dublin, gaining national media attention. According to RTÉ News, around 100 people took part in the protest, including An Seanadóir (Senator) David Norris, who is known for leading the way for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland in 1992.

LGBT Noise are quite capable at creating quite a bit of noise in aid of the campaign for gay marriage in Ireland, but they’re not the only ones. According to their own website, “MarriagEquality grew out of an initiative introduced to support the case of Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan to have their Canadian marriage recognised in Ireland.” That was back in 2001, and the case ended against their favous in December ’06, although they have since taken the case to the Supreme Court. We await the outcome.

Still, MarriagEquality have gone from strength to strength with their campaign, and earned due media attention as well as LGBT Noise. Let’s hope that the efforts of these groups and more do not end up falling on deaf ears. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case so far.

To look at Bunreacht na hÉireann for yourself, click here.

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One Response to “(Gay) Marriage and the State”

  1. 1 anthony

    Very well written… Well done


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