By Peter J. Smith

  DUBLIN, November 29, 2006 ( – Ireland’s Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) published a report Tuesday recommending a range of options to the government for giving legal recognition to cohabiting relationships other than traditional marriage.

“In Irish society today increasing numbers of people reside in domestic arrangements which are not founded on marriage or which do not conform to traditional family forms,” stated Tanaiste, Michael McDowell, T.D., who is also the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. “The Government wants to deliver a framework in which non-married couples, including gay couples, can live in a supportive and a secure legal environment.”

  Back in March, the Tánaiste ordered the Working Group – which included the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) – to consider how much and to what extent legal effect and recognition could be given to domestic partnerships other than marriage under the Irish Constitution.

  The Options Paper on Domestic Partnership presents a variety of schemes for legal recognition of unmarried opposite-sex and same-sex cohabiting couples, and looks to the legal inventions of other countries including Canada. The report suggests “contractual arrangements, a presumptive scheme, limited civil partnership (a civil registration scheme), full civil partnership (a civil registration scheme) and legislative review and reform” for same-sex and opposite sex partners, which essentially would render the very status of marriage meaningless in Irish society.

  The paper also examines the possibility of recognizing “non-conjugal relationships”, however it noted there was a lack of interest and information about anyone benefiting from this scheme.

  While the government’s Working Group examined the possibility of same-sex “marriage”, it commented that the legalization of homosexual “marriage” could be vulnerable to a constitutional challenge, noting that the High Court has not yet decided the Zappone and Gilligan case, two Irish lesbians, who “married” in Canada to challenge Irish law.

  The Options Paper is intended for public consultation; nevertheless, it is driven by the Irish Human Rights Commission’s demand in March that the state recognize homosexual relationships, and is of particular concern to the Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Mr. Bertie Ahern TD.

  In an April 3rd meeting with GLEN, the Taoiseach spoke that sexual orientation was “is an essential part of who and what we are” and emphasized his commitment that Ireland’s “laws have changed, and will continue to change, to reflect this principle.”

  See link Domestic Partnership Options Paper Published
  (link to PDF of paper in article):

  See Related LifeSite coverage:

  Irish Lesbians Using Canadian “Marriage” to Impose Same-Sex “Marriage” on Ireland