According to news reports Alan Shatter gave his support to marriage equality at the launch of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) progress report and also announced that he would bring forward a bill on parenting reforms for gay and lesbian parents. At the launch event he also gave his personal support for civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples.
“I personally believe that a democratic republic that professes a commitment to the principle of equal citizenship should not continue to prevent same-sex couples from entering into a legal partnership that is legally recognised and designated as being a marriage.” – Alan Shatter
Shatter’s statement on marriage equality and on reforming the law surrounding rights for gay and lesbian parents was welcomed by GLEN chair Kieran Rose who released a statement “GLEN welcomes the Ministers strong personal support for equal access to civil marriage. This is a critical issues for lesbian and gay people and a key goal of GLEN”
Meanwhile a new opinion poll on gay marriage has put public support in Ireland as being in the majority. The poll was commissioned by Marriage Equality Ireland and conducted by Millward Brown. The poll revealed that 75% of Irish people agreed with extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples and would vote yes if a referendum was held on the issue. That percentage is significantly higher than a 2008 poll on the issue which had 63% of voters supporting such a move.
If Ireland were to move towards introducing civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples it would join countries such as France, Germany, Finland, Luxemburg and the UK all of which are heading down that path at differing speeds. In Paris and Lyons over the weekends over 250,000 took to the streets in support of gay marriage ahead of the French parliament’s debate on the issue. Last week at Westminster the coalition put forward its bill to introduce marriage equality to England and Wales while the SNP administration in Scotland is pushing ahead with its own plans to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
European countries which currently allow gay and lesbian couples to marry include Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and Sweden.