Marriage bill to be enacted by end of July

Legislation to make same-sex marriage a reality here is expected to be enacted by the end of July.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she was conscious that many same-sex couples will want to get married as soon as possible and confirmed that it is her intention to have the Marriage Bill 2015 enacted by the end of July.

“The Irish people have chosen decisively to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples.

“I am particularly proud that the right to marriage equality will now be enshrined in our Constitution as a result of a popular vote. I am very conscious that many couples will want to get married as soon as possible. I am working to make that happen,” she said.

Ms Fitzgerald also confirmed that the legislation will include a provision to enable couples to convert a notification of intention to enter a civil partnership into a notification of intention to enter a marriage.

Meanwhile, Fr Brendan Hoban of the Association of Catholic Priests said the Irish Church “is in huge crisis” and hit out at the “very negative approach” taken by Irish bishops during the referendum campaign.

“The Church has been out of touch and I’m afraid the difficulty we’ve had is this very negative approach in the referendum.

“There are things we believe about marriage and so on and we have the right to say it as Catholics but I think the kind of confrontational approach that was adopted throughout the campaign hasn’t served the Church very well,” he said.

Fr Hoban accused the Bishops of sending letters to be read at Mass, which effectively were like a slap in the face to Catholics who had gay family members.

“We found ourselves in the position, as Catholic priests, through the reading of these letters, of actually encouraging people to vote no when there were people in our congregations who are gay, fathers and mothers of gay sons and daughters.

“It was almost sort of slapping them across the face and a lot of priests didn’t read them out for that reason,” he said.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and BeLong To — Ireland’s national organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender young people — have said that feedback they have received from the count centres shows turn-out from those who registered on the supplemental register ranged from 80% upwards — the majority of these were students and young people.

Meanwhile, independent TD Mattie McGrath has accused the political parties of perpetrating “a democratic fraud” on the Irish people in the lead-up to the marriage referendum.

The Tipperary south politician was one of a handful of Oireachtas members to publicly oppose the introduction of marriage equality and said yesterday that Senator Averil Power’s comments showed up the “hypocrisy” of Fianna Fáil over its position on the referendum.

“What Senator Power has done is to confirm what everyone in the no campaign knew in the last number of weeks; that the political consensus on the same-sex marriage referendum was a populist sham,” Mr McGrath said in a statement.

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