Dáil expected to approve civil partnership legislation

LANDMARK civil partnership laws will not be damaged by the fall-out from the stag hunting row, Green leaders have said.

Environment Minister John Gormley is confident legislation to give same-sex couples many of the rights enjoyed by heterosexual ones will not be hit by a backlash as it passes its final Dáil stages today.

Stag hunt rebel Mattie McGrath included the civil partnership bill in a list of laws he claimed the Greens were “bullying” Fianna Fáil backbenchers into supporting. However, a spokesperson for Mr Gormley pointed out that giving extra legal protection to same-sex couples was Fianna Fáil policy as well and the Greens had amended their initial policy of civil marriage to accommodate their Coalition partners in the programme for government.

However, if the bill clears the Dáil as expected, it may face a challenge from some Fine Gael senators who are poised to try and push for a free vote on aspects of the legislation.

Some, such as Senator Paul Bradford, have raised the possibility of imposing a “conscience clause” so that service providers could not be prosecuted under equality legislation if they do not want to be involved in a civil partnership.


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