By Gudrun Schultz

DUBLIN, Ireland, January 26, 2006 ( –Ireland will retain its definition of the family without including same-sex relationships, according to a report released yesterday by Ireland’s Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

The ‘All Party Report on the Constitution’ recommends that a civil partnership system should be formed instead. The system would accommodate cohabiting and same-sex couples, leaving the original definition of ‘family,’ based on marriage, intact.

Under the civil partnership system, there would be two forms of union. A civil registered partnership would apply to both heterosexual and homosexual couples, while a ‘presumptive civil partnership’ would apply only to heterosexual couples that had lived together for an extended period of time and presumably had formed a partnership agreement.

The system would limit same-sex couples to registered partnerships, since it would not be possible to assume two men or women living together were homosexual.

Couples under civil partnerships would have some recognized rights under law, but the rights would be limited, and not equivalent to marriage.

The report did not address the question of whether or not homosexual couples would be allowed to adopt children.

There has been a recent push in the European Union to give homosexual couples legal recognition. Spain, Belgium and Holland have legalized gay marriage—many other states in the EU have legal civil unions for homosexual couples.

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