Tag Archives: Irish referendum

Northern Ireland Same-Sex Couples Are Being ‘Left Behind’ On Equal Marriage

We are only a couple of months away from same-sex weddings in Ireland, after the Republic of Ireland’s Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald brought forward a Marriage Bill, following the country overwhelmingly voted in favour of equality in a public referendum on same-sex marriage.


However, the same cannot be said for Northern Ireland, where marriage equality continues to be blocked.

The Democratic Unionist Party has vetoed equality bills in the Stormont assembly four times, using powers granted by the country’s peace agreement to file a ‘petition of concern’ on the issue.

Amnesty International has now stepped, and spoken out against the country’s continuing ban on same-sex marriage.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:

The move by the Irish government is a welcome step towards equality for same-sex couples in the Republic of Ireland.

However, it also underlines the extent to which Belfast has been left behind by London, Dublin, Edinburgh and Cardiff when it comes to equality for gay people.

Soon Northern Ireland will be the only part of the UK or Ireland where the government bans same-sex couples from getting married and refuses to recognise same-sex marriages conducted elsewhere on these islands.

Most people in Northern Ireland want to live in a country where unequal laws are consigned to the history books. If Northern Ireland’s politicians continue to fail on equal rights to civil marriage, then it will be left to the Courts.”

In a bid to break the deadlock on the issue, the UK Labour Party recently called for Northern Ireland to follow in the footsteps of the Republic of Ireland, by holding a binding public referendum on the issue.

A number of leading LGBT groups in Northern Ireland have rejected Labour’s calls for a referendum on same-sex marriage.

In a joint statement, a number of LGBT organisations – The Rainbow Project, HereNI, Cara-Friend, SAIL and Gender Jam NI – said that the idea of putting equality to a public vote was fundamentally wrong, and that their resources are better spent helping LGBT people than running an election campaign.


While the Republic of Ireland needed to make constitutional changes to permit same-sex marriage, requiring a referendum, the groups say equality can be passed in Northern Ireland through normal legislation – as was the case in England, Wales and Scotland.

The joint statement said:

We greatly appreciate the time taken by the Shadow Secretary of State to meet with our sector.

We welcome any and all opportunities to speak with political leaders about the state of LGB&T equality in Northern Ireland and Ivan was very willing to listen to our objectives and concerns not only on marriage equality but on wider issues of homophobia, transphobia, health care provision and education. We hope to continue these engagements with Ivan and his party colleagues.

However, we fundamentally disagree with Labour’s suggestion that the on-going and unlawful denial of the right to marry for LGB&T people in Northern Ireland should or could be resolved by a public referendum.

Of course we were delighted to see the ‘yes’ victory in the Republic of Ireland and many of us were deeply involved with that campaign but it would be inappropriate to suggest that the referendum campaign could be replicated in the North.

We believe that the current patchwork of marriage laws across the UK is wrong and that it went wrong in Westminster.

Not only did the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act create the untenable situation where some marriages are only recognised in some regions of the UK but it placed unacceptable burdens on trans individuals to seek the permission of their spouse in order to access legal recognition of their gender.

We believe that, were a referendum to be called, equality would win – but it is wholly unacceptable to expect the LGB&T community in Northern Ireland, in the face of the most organised opposing forces in the UK, to secure a win in a referendum which would not be proposed in any other region of the UK.”

Irish Court Rejects ‘Pointless’ Legal Challenge Stalling The First Same-Sex Weddings

The Court of Appeals in the Republic of Ireland has rejected a challenge to the marriage referendum, which was delaying the first same-sex weddings.

In May, the Republic of Ireland became the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.

hometovote-02 hometovote-03

Following the landslide victory, Irish justice minister Frances Fitzgerald promised to implement the law as soon as possible, saying:

I am very conscious that many couples will want to get married as soon as possible. I am working to make that happen.”

However, attempts to implement weddings as soon as possible were hindered when multiple people launched nuisance legal challenges, in an attempt to stall further.

The Court of Appeals heard arguments today – and unsurprisingly found that the referendum was valid.

After eight hours, the Court of Appeals dismissed the challenges to the referendum and lifted a stay on action.

Activists celebrated the decision, and derided the “pointless” challenges.

However, the complainants still have 28 days to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, if they want to attempt to stall equality further.

After Same-Sex Marriage Victory in Ireland, Germany’s Green Party Call for Chancellor to Follow Suit

After the same-sex marriage victory in Ireland, Germany’s Green Party is calling for Chancellor Angela Merkel to follow suit.

The Republic of Ireland overwhelmingly voted to introduce same-sex marriage in a referendum last week, with 62.1% voting in favour and 37.9% voting against.


Chancellor Merkel is facing calls for her Grand Coalition government to catch up and introduce equality.

Germany allows same-sex couples to enter into registered life partnerships that provide some of the benefits of marriage – but the Chancellor’s CDU/CSU coalition continues to oppose same-sex marriage.

Opposition Green leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt told Die Welt:

The Merkel faction cannot just sit out the debate on marriage for all. I am confident that the Irish vote will accelerate equality in Germany. This is a great signal from Ireland. Equal love deserves equal respect.”

Jens Spahn, of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party, also expressed hope despite his party’s opposition.

What the Catholic Irish can do, we can do, too … The populace is often further along in these matters than we think.”

Political leaders in a number of other countries – including Northern Ireland, Australia and Italy – are also calling on their governments to follow suit.

Ireland Says #YES to Equality

Following a higher than expended turnout to the non-compulsory vote, the amendment to extend the right to marry to all couples regardless of gender will be passed with a decisive 2-to-1 majority across the republic.

Voters were asked to approve an amendment to the Irish Constitution that states: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”


Making same-sex marriage legal requires a change to the constitution – that in Ireland can only be passed through a referendum.

Polling has consistently shown that at least 60 percent of people planned to vote in favour of equality, but campaigners warn that projections could be unreliable, as was seen in the recent UK Parliamentary elections.

The result goes to show there’s no “silent majority” against marriage equality. Even the most vocal anti-marriage equality campaigner was swift to realise his defeat, and gracious in doing so.

Many marriage equality activists across the globe advise against using a referendum to decide a minority civil rights issue – but when the numbers fall in our favour this compellingly, it sends them a clear message about the population’s sense of fairness.

Ireland has today proved it has come a long way on gay and lesbian rights in a relatively short time – homosexuality was illegal there until as late as 1993.

Earlier this year, an amendment was passed to make it possible for Irish same-sex couples to jointly adopt a child. Now we keenly await the first same-sex couples’ chance to walk down the aisle together.

Irish People From Around the World are Going #hometovote on Same-Sex Marriage Referendum.

Today Ireland votes on the referendum on same-sex marriage. If it passes, it will become the first country to introduce the legislation by popular vote.


Because of Irish voting laws, expats aren’t allowed to vote today unless they’re actually in the country.

Refusing to let go of their say because of a technicality, lots and lots of people have been going back to Ireland over the past 24 hours so they can vote today.


They’ve been documenting their trip with the hashtag #hometovote.



Out Irish Senator Katherine Zappone Calls For Marriage Equality In Ireland

Senator Katherine Zappone, who is one of Ireland’s only out lesbian senator, has been campaigning for equal marriage in Ireland for more than a decade.


In a video for Ireland’s Marriage Equality campaign, she says the country “stands poised to become a beacon of freedom” if it passes equal marriage and that there “is an opportunity for Ireland to make history in 2015”.

“To make sure we embrace this historic moment, it’s important that you speak with your families, friends, colleagues and neighbours about why marriage equality is important to you.”

Senator Katherine Zappone

Senator Zappone married her partner, Ann Louise Gilligan, in Canada during 2003.

In 2006, the High Court in Dublin rejected recognition of their marriage, stating that marriage could only be defined between members of the opposite sex.

A referendum on legalising the reform will be held in May.

LGBT Ally, Colin Farrell Gets Full Support From Ellen DeGeneres As She Tweets Praise

LGBT ally, Colin Farrell was given the ultimate seal of approval from Ellen DeGeneres for his comments on same-sex marriage.

This week, Farrell was interviewed in Ireland on new Claire Byrne’s current affairs show on the subject of marriage equality and the Irish referendum.

In the slot, the Irish actor passionately spoke about the struggles his brother Eamon – who is gay and happily married – faced growing up in Ireland. He gave a compelling account of the abuse and homophobia his brother Eamon suffered

“There was great hardship that he was experiencing every day in school. He went to school under great duress. He got plenty of beatings and got called names continuously.

I remember him coming home with blood on his shirt, and he got plenty of beatings and he got just called names continuously……..so he had a very very very tough time, a lot of cruelty, like real, absolute shameful cruelty that was placed upon him.”

Colin Farrell

In the interview, Colin went on to say he supports marriage equality “with every fibre of my being”.

Watch the follow interview here