Taoiseach 'misses great opportunity to commit to same-sex equality'

Taoiseach 'misses great opportunity to commit to same-sex equality'

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community in Ireland is welcoming Barack Obama's support for same-sex marriages.

His announcement makes him the first US President in history to come down in favour of gay marriage.

Gay rights groups now hope his views will inspire other world leaders to follow his example.

Project Co-ordinator Toddy Hogan for Linc, is a lesbian support group in Cork, said that President Obama's backing is "a great step forward".

But the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) has said that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny had missed a "great opportunity" to follow President Obama's lead.

GLEN said Mr Kenny was asked for his position on same-sex marriage, following President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron’s statements of support for same-sex marriage.

Kieran Rose, GLEN's Chairperson, said: "The Taoiseach today missed a great opportunity to state his commitment to equality for same-sex couples, following the powerful leadership which was shown yesterday by President Barak Obama."

The Taoiseach acknowledged that the issue was of considerable interest and that Ireland had moved a long way "from where we were", he said that same-sex marriage was an issue for the constitutional convention.

Mr Rose said: "At a time when all other party leaders have expressed support for same-sex marriage, it is regrettable that the Taoiseach did not use the opportunity provided by President Obama’s statement to express his support.

"President Obama’s position sends a very strong signal of inclusion, of value and of support to lesbian and gay people everywhere and in particular to young gay people. It brings much closer a time when lesbian and gay people will have their love and commitment recognised and supported equally."

GLEN said Ireland had made huge progress in evolving towards civil marriage for same-sex couples.

Mr Rose said: "We are fortunate in Ireland that civil marriage is not a massive leap but an incremental step, building on the powerful civil partnership legislation. Support for civil marriage has grown, with the latest opinion poll showing that 73% of Irish voters support civil marriage for same sex-couples."


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