On Saturday afternoon, at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, a motion was passed which stated ‘that the Ard Fheis calls on the Government to ensure that the Constitutional Convention prioritises an analysis of the proposals for same-sex marriage in Ireland’.
The motion was put forward by Young Fine Gael and amongst those speaking in its favour were Catherine Byrne, TD for Dublin South-Central.
While it’s not binding it is a signal of Fine Gael’s commitment to work on this issue and has been welcomed by both the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) and the Marriage Equality group.
Kieran Rose, Chair of GLEN, said that the passing of the motion ‘is a great step forward in further building a political consensus for civil marriage for same-sex couples’.
Speaking from the Ard Fheis, Marriage Equality Director Moninne Griffith said ‘The Constitutional Convention is our chance to set out our values as Irish people, and to ensure that they are enshrined in the Constitution. This our chance to show that we believe believe in equality, fairness, doing the right, and respect for difference and diversity, and to have these values protected in the Constitution’.
With a Red C poll, conducted in February, showing that 73% of those polled were in favour of same-sex marriage being written into the constitution it’s clear to see that Ireland has moved on a great deal since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993. The law needs to catch up with these opinions though because marriage is still an area where gay people are treated as second class citizens and that isn’t what anyone wants for this country.
Whether the Constitutional Convention will achieve all that it sets out to remains to be seen but, as I’ve said before, we’re heading in the right direction. And as long as it’s actually acted on then it can only be a good thing in the equality stakes.