Kenny under pressure to hold referendum on same-sex marriage

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is facing growing pressure to hold a referendum on same-sex marriage and may also need to extend the terms of the convention examining changes to the Constitution, the head of the body says.

However, Constitutional Convention chairman Tom Arnold warned against any wholesale dismantling of the Constitution or the possibility of agreeing a new one in the long term.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Arnold also dismissed previous claims that the 100-member convention probing Constitutional issues was just an “expensive talking shop”.

The most contentious issue debated to date was the provision of same-sex marriage in the Constitution, said Mr Arnold, where 79% of the panel favoured the provision of same-sex marriage.

The Government has until November to respond to this. Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has already said he expects a vote on same-sex marriage to take place next year, a move he supports.

Mr Kenny has yet to say if he or Fine Gael favour such a move. Mr Arnold says there is a need for constitutional change.

“I think the fact that there was a such a decisive majority by the convention that this is an area that needs constitutional change, does mean there is probably strong pressure on the Government to proceed to a referendum on this issue.”

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