Irish government-appointed committee recommends gay ‘marriage’ referendum
DUBLIN, April 16, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A government-appointed group has recommended a public referendum in Ireland on whether the Irish constitution should be altered to allow gay “marriage.” Homosexualists have hailed the recommendation by the Constitutional Convention, a government think tank, as a “major milestone” and a “historic step” in their campaign to redefine marriage.
Seventy-nine of 100 Convention members, made up of citizens and parliamentarians, voted to recommend amending the Constitution, while 19 voted against.
Brian Sheehan, of Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, said, “It builds on the extraordinary progress we have achieved over the last 20 years, and clearly demonstrates that Ireland is ready to take the next step to complete that remarkable journey.”
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, who has vocally clashed with the Catholic Church on social issues, welcomed the recommendation, saying, “I have always believed that our laws reflect the past, not the future on this issue.”
“It’s not the role of the State to pass judgment on who a person falls in love with, or who they want to spend their life with,” he added.
David Quinn, a spokesman for the Catholic lobby group The Iona Institute, said that the committee had ignored the rights of religious organisations.
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“The fact that convention delegates, and especially many of the politician delegates, were so dismissive of religious freedom concerns indicates that if same-sex marriage is one day part of our law, organisations that dissent from this view of marriage will find what amounts to a new orthodoxy imposed upon them,” he said.
The Catholic bishops of Ireland have issued a statement saying that they will not cooperate with any attempt by the government to create gay “marriage.” In order to be legally recognized, a marriage must be certified by one of the 5,600 officially registered commissioners, approximately 4,300 of whom are Catholic priests who conduct nearly 70 percent of all wedding ceremonies.
A debate on whether a referendum will actually happen will be held in Ireland’s parliament within the next four months.
Apart from the marriage issue, the committee looked at the consitutional definition of the family, in particular the “balance” to be struck between the rights of the family as a whole and the rights of individual members, and whether the constitution should be changed in accordance with the European Convention of the Rights of the Child.
It examined whether the reference in the constitution to women’s “life in the home” should be changed. It asked whether constitutional protection should be afforded to “families other than those based on marriage.” It also questioned whether mothers’ rights should be enshrined in the constitution and what rights a natural father should have and how should these be protected.