The Green Party has welcomed the introduction of the Civil Partnership Bill to the Dáil this evening.
Speaking ahead of this evening’s debate on the Bill, Green Party justice spokesman Ciaran Cuffe said: “This bill marks substantial, purposeful progress on our equality agenda which I am very pleased to see introduced into the Dáil this evening.
“Civil partnerships will be of huge practical benefit to gay and lesbian couples across the country, creating rights, responsibilities and safeguards for same sex couples in loving relationships where there were none before.
“The bill amends over 130 pieces of legislation. Civil partnerships will enhance the law for same sex couples in areas such as taxation, pensions, social welfare, inheritance, property and employment law.
“Moreover, the bill sends a vitally important message to same sex couples that their unions are formally recognised by the State."
Gay rights groups have however called for the bill to be bolstered to allow for civil marriage, placing same-sex couples on the same legal footing as married partners.
They say the legislation in its current form does not go far enough.