Gay rights activists marked the beginning of Dublin’s Pride festival by demanding the next government prioritise legislation recognising same sex couples.
The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) said the election manifestos of all parties included commitments to giving legal recognition to same sex partnerships.
As talks continue over the formation of a new government for the 30th Dáil GLEN was among the groups lobbying to have its concerns forced to the top of the agenda.
“The Programme for a new government provides a key opportunity to act on this consensus for change” said GLEN’s Eoin Collins.
“The Government Working Group on Domestic Partnership (the Colley Group) has identified the way forward, coming out strongly for equality based legal recognition of same-sex couples.
“GLEN urges all parties to support the implementation of the Colley Working Group report in the next programme for government and to enact legislation at the earliest opportunity.”
His comments came as Dublin’s Gay Pride Festival was officially launched today with the organisers promising a packed programme to entertain tens of thousands of people.
Daily events across the capital will culminate in the Dublin Pride Parade on June 23, marking the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, a significant turning point in the history of gay rights.
Last year, thousands thronged the streets for the parade, which featured colourful artists and performers from all over the world.
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin human rights spokesperson Aengus O Snodaigh today backed the calls for legislation to protect the rights of gay couples.
“Strand 3 of the Good Friday Agreement obliges the Irish government to ensure at least an equivalent level of protection of human rights in the 26 Counties as in the six Counties.
“By failing to rectify the disparity between the rights of gay, lesbian and transsexual people on each part of the island the government parties have failed to meet their obligations.
“Sinn Féin will continue to campaign for equivalence in equality and human rights protections, including for the definition of the family in the Constitution to be extended to include same-sex couples.”
The Northern Ireland Executive’s office of First and Deputy First Minister this week restated its commitment to equality after Ian Paisley Jnr, a junior minister in the power-sharing government, gave an interview in which he said he was repulsed by gay people and believed they damaged society.