First civil partnership ceremony for same-sex couple

IRELAND’S first civil partnership ceremony between a same-sex couple took place two weeks ago.

The two men were registered as civil partners at a ceremony on February 7.

The partnership is registered under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 which came into force on January 1.

The General Registers Office (GRO) confirmed that, so far, two same sex civil partnership ceremonies have taken place since the act came into force. The second ceremony, also involving two men, took place on February 11.

Newspaper and TV groups have made financial offers to prospective couples but both ceremonies, so far, were conducted away from the media glare.

The GRO requires couples to wait a minimum of three months to register their partnership after it has been notified. A wavier to this rule can be granted by the Circuit Court on compassionate grounds, such as the serious illness of one of the partners.

Over 100 couples have already given notice to the GRO they intend to register as civil partners. Civil partnership ceremonies can take place in register offices or any venue approved by the HSE.

Registering as civil partners entitles couples to certain property and pension entitlements, some of which have been delayed in implementation due to the Finance Bill being rushed through to enable an early general election.

All parties have committed to introducing the necessary changes to enable the act’s full implementation after the election.

The Green Party and Labour have both pledged to introduce full gay marriage rights. Green Party TD Ciarán Cuffe said same-sex couples should be entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples.

“In Government, the Green Party introduced the Civil Partnerships legislation, which goes a long way to ensuring better rights for same-sex couples. But, it is not marriage, and we believe all consenting adults, should have the option to marry,” he added.

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said his party will instigate a constitutional referendum in order to legislate gay marriage.

“Labour’s manifesto provides for a constitutional convention that will allow us to draw up that new constitution. But some things can’t wait. Ireland is ready for equality between gay and straight. Labour will push ahead with a referendum on same sex marriage,” he said.

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