Lesbian Couple Married in Canada File Suit for Recognition in Ireland



By Gudrun Schultz

DUBLIN, Ireland, October 5, 2006 ( – A lesbian couple attempting to force the Irish government to recognize their Canadian “marriage” filed suit Oct. 4, after a hearing before the Irish High Court in a pivotal case threatening the country’s traditional marriage law.

The two women, Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone, are seeking the same legal rights and tax exemptions as heterosexual married couples. The couple were “married” in British Columbia on Sept.13, 2003, under Canada’s new legislation permitting same-sex couples to legally wed.

Dr. Zappone is a public policy research consultant and member of the Human Rights Commission, while Dr. Gilligan is a professor at St. Patrick’s College, Dublin.

Irish law prohibits homosexual marriage while legislation creating civil partnerships for gay couples has been proposed in Parliament. The Irish government is opposing the Zappone and Gilligan suit under the 1937 constitution which demands the Republic “guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack.”

The case is the first instance of a homosexual couple seeking legal recognition in Ireland for a marriage obtained outside the country. Irish High Court Justice Liam McKechnie ruled in 2003 that the case could proceed to a hearing.

A UK High Court ruled against a similar petition by a British couple in July, refusing to overturn the country’s traditional definition of marriage for two lesbians “married” in Canada. The Court ruled that under British law the women’s union would be recognized as a civil partnership, under the Civil Partnership Act of 2004.

Zappone and Gilligan have indicated they expect to win their case in Ireland since the country has no civil-union law in place.

See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

UK High Court Refuses to Recognize Canadian “Marriage”; Lesbians Will Appeal to EU Court

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

Gay ‘Marriage’ Court Challenge Coming to Ireland Courtesy of Canada

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