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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 22 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 34
Irish approve of same-sex relationships, new poll says Good news for upcoming marriage vote
Section One
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Irish approve of same-sex relationships, new poll says Good news for upcoming marriage vote

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A new poll by The Sunday Times says that 86% of the Irish people approve of same-sex relationships.

The findings are welcome news for Irish Gay and Lesbian couples ahead of a planned referendum on same-sex marriage.

Kieran Rose, of Ireland's Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said the poll shows that public opinion has swung towards equal treatment for same-sex couples.

'This is another welcome demonstration of the transformation in attitudes to lesbian and gay people and of the generosity of Irish voters in their willingness to extend equal status and dignity to lesbian and gay people and lesbian and gay headed families,' Rose said in a statement.

'It is clear from this poll and other recent polls public opinion firmly accepts that lesbian and gay people and families headed by lesbian and gay couples should be afforded the same respect, legal status and protections that are available to the rest of society.

'The widespread public support for more almost 1,500 civil partnerships that have already been celebrated all across Ireland and the growing political and public support shows that Ireland is ready for the next step in the 20 year journey to civil marriage and full Constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people and families.'

In 2010 the Dail, Ireland's parliament, passed a civil unions bill, and the government launched a review of the country's constitution to determine how to legalize same-sex marriage. In November 2013, the Irish government said it would hold a referendum in 2015 on a constitutional amendment to legalize Gay and Lesbian marriages.

The exact date of the referendum has not yet been set, but Ireland's Taoiseach (Prime Minister) announced in July that it would be held in the first four months of 2015.

Almost 85% of Irish citizens identify themselves as Roman Catholic, and laws protecting the Irish LGBT community are relatively recent. Same-sex sexual relations were legalized only in 1993 after the European Court of Human Rights ruled that laws criminalizing Gay sex violated international law.

There are no legal provisions for Irish citizens to change their gender, and anti-discrimination laws passed in 1998 and 2000 still do not protect Transgender people.

In Northern Ireland, an internally self-governing part of the United Kingdom, civil protections against anti-LGBT discrimination are in place and include Trans people, but same-sex marriage bills have been rejected several times by the area's parliament.

In the North, nationalists who want to join the Republic of Ireland generally support marriage equality, while unionists who want to remain part of the UK generally oppose it.

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