Gay marriage referendum forms part of Labour’s social vision

A REFERENDUM on gay marriage would be held by the Labour Party in Government as part of a wide range of social reform measures contained in its pre-election manifesto.

Labour said the measure would be part of its “journey to equality” which started with introducing laws on civil partnership to the Dáil which were eventually accepted by the outgoing coalition.

The party compared its same-sex marriage stance to its position on divorce back in the 1980s when it was the only party opposed to the constitutional ban.

The chairman of the party’s policy committee, Brendan Howlin, said following wide ranging consultation on the issue, the party “would be putting to the people the option with the recommendation and the endorsement of this party that we would recognise same sex unions on the same basis as marriage”.

The Labour Party will also legislate for the 1992 X case ruling that abortion is lawful if the life of the mother is at risk.

Asked to respond to claims that “a vote for Labour is a vote for abortion” Mr Howlin said: “We are very conscious of the views of the Irish people from the very religious to the very liberal. Our position has been and is crystal clear. We would legislation for the parameters laid out in the X case, that is the view of the Irish Supreme Court and the view of the European Court of Human Rights,” he said.

Its One Ireland document contains 100 steps for Ireland and includes:

- Every pupil will leave school with the ability to hold a conversation in Irish with their peers through an improved curriculum.

- Paternity leave which would allow mothers and fathers to share their leave entitlements after childbirth.

- Rules on conditions for older people to stay in work part-time after retirement if they want to stay “economically active”.

- A constitutional convention to draw up a new constitution.

- Abolish the Seanad but make the Dáil stronger.

Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said Fine Gael is merely “following the drum that Fianna Fáil is beating” and that people can “change the map” of Irish politics by voting for Labour.


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