Same-sex marriages could take place from October

Same-sex couples could be able to marry in just a number of weeks with the Cabinet set to discuss legislation this week to give effect to the referendum.

Legislation to enact May’s referendum will be discussed by the Cabinet on Wednesday, before the Dáil returns next week.

Ministers are eager to pass the legislation following a delay enacting the marriage referendum after its result was challenged in the courts.

A Government source said: “The Government feels its should be enacted as quickly as possible.”

Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage by popular vote in May, when 62%, or 1.2m people, supported the proposition.

President Michael D Higgins signed the Marriage Referendum Bill into the Constitution last month after the Court of Appeal rejecting a challenge to the gay marriage referendum result.

Same-sex marriages could take place from October

The Marriage Bill being discussed by the Cabinet this week is to implement the referendum and is procedural, concerning matters such as solemnisers and ceremonies.

The bill must be passed through the Dáil before couples are allowed to marry under the changes so existing legislation can be altered.

The enabling legislation will then allow the first civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples to take place. Registers and wedding venues have said they have experienced a surge in inquiries from couples wanting to tie the knot over the coming year.

Department of Justice sources confirmed the Marriage Bill would be discussed this week, when Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald brings it before her colleagues.

“It is procedural and sets out requirements [for marriage]. It means it would be passed in a number of weeks in the Dail. This is a priority for the Cabinet,” said a source.

Meanwhile, the latest Red C poll gives the joint Coalition parties 38%. Taken last week, it is one of the strongest indications of support yet for the Fine Gael-Labour government.

Labour’s support has risen by two percentage points to 10%, while Fine Gael’s has increased by three percentage points to 28%.

Support for Fianna Fáil remains the same at 18%. But elsewhere, Sinn Fein has seen a drop in support by two percentage points to 16%. Independents have also dropped by three percentage points to 28%.

The Independent Alliance will next weekend hold a special meeting in Athlone to consider its latest general election strategy. Football pundit Eamon Dunphy will be among those to address members. The alliance expects to be formally launched in November, said de facto leader Shane Ross. The alliance says it has 20 candidates ready to fight the general election.

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