Wednesday , 19 June 2019

Irish president signs marriage equality into law

Yes IrelandFive months after the widely celebrated referendum, marriage equality has become a reality for same-sex couples in Ireland.

The Presidential Commission, in place of President Michael D Higgins who currently visiting the US, signed the Marriage Act 2015 into law yesterday.

Ireland became the first nation to introduce same-sex marriage by popular vote in May with the overwhelming Yes vote from 62% of the Irish voting public on 22 May 2015.

Last week the bill passed through the upper house of the Irish parliament, the Seanad, and with the president signature it has now become law.

The Act itself is quite short and technical in nature, but it is much more than the sum of its parts. The Marriage Act 2015 will amend the Civil Registration Act 2004 which limited marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

However, the Act’s impact will not be limited to marriage equality alone. Importantly, it will also remove the so-called ‘forced divorce provision’ from the recently passed Gender Recognition Act 2015, allowing for self-determined legal gender recognition for the first time in Ireland. Now, trans people in Ireland who are married or have a civil partner will be able to apply for a gender recognition certificate.

Jen Wilson and Ruth Davidson
Jen Wilson and Ruth Davidson

Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, Ruth Davidson, said she would like to marry her partner Jen Wilson in Ireland when the law comes into effect.

“This is the culmination of decades of work by Irish LGBTI activists and ILGA-Europe send our congratulations to everyone who engaged with the Yes Equality campaign.” said ILGA-Europe Executive Director, Evelyne Paradis. “Tribute must also be paid to national politicians in Ireland, as all the main political parties put aside their partisan differences to campaign for the greater goal of equality.”

ILGA-Europe said that this will increase Ireland’s score on their Rainbow Europe Index. The Irish government hope that the first same-sex marriage ceremonies could take place before the end of the year.

About Dan Littauer

Dan Littauer is a journalist who specializes in LGBTI current affairs, travel writing, feature writing and investigative journalism. He is a correspondent for LGBTQ Nation, ManAboutWorld, and previously worked for Gay Star News, PinkNews, San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Gay Middle East, Lonely Planet as well as contributing occasionally to the BBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN and The Guardian. He also had an extensive career outside journalism, which included teaching psychoanalysis and social science, and consultancy work for the travel market. When he is not busy writing, he can be spotted rambling around the stunning Scottish landscape, where he lives, spending time at home with his cat.

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