Press Statement: Marriage Equality

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We Are Church Ireland


Today 20th January  the core leadership group of We are Church Ireland expressed  unanimous support for the proposed May Referendum on Marriage Equality in Irish Civil Law and believes that social justice requires that loving, committed relationships between two consenting adults should be treated equally by the Irish State, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Although civil partnership in Ireland was an significant step forward in relationship recognition  for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people it did not provide them with the same responsibilities, obligations  and status  that marriage gives.

There are important inequalities still remaining. These  range from issues relating to the Family Home, Finance, Legal Procedures and  Parent and Child.

The Irish Constitution does not define marriage as between a man and a woman as  Article 41.3.1 states that ‘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’.

It was the 2004 Civil Registration Act that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. However, Irish Courts have consistently  interpreted Article 41.3.1as inferring that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Marriage is and has been a rapidly evolving institution.  Marriage in the past in  Irish society  featured practices like arranged marriages, payment of dowries and the legally recognised inferior status of women. Marriage was seen as primarily about the protection of property and wealth rather than based on the free loving assent between two human persons.

The important issues of adoption and surrogacy are not part of this referendum – they are being addressed by separate legislation.

‘The proposed Referendum will not redefine marriage but rather refine it to make it more inclusive and so  enhance the meaning of marriage’ stated Brendan Butler, spokesperson.

We are Church Ireland.

Further Information, Brendan Butler, 086 4054984