Frances Fitzgerald T.D., Minister for Justice and Equality, welcomed the Government’s approval of her proposals to hold a referendum on Marriage Equality in May.
Announcing the decision, Minister Fitzgerald said: “I am delighted that the Government has accepted my approach to the referendum on marriage equality. I believe that we should put a clear question to the people, asking them if same-sex couples should have a right to marriage equality.”
The Minister continued: “The referendum will provide an important
opportunity for people to decide whether all couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, will have the opportunity to get married and to have constitutionally protected relationships.”
Following yesterday’s decision, the Government will now proceed to drafting the precise wording of the constitutional amendment to be put to the people in a referendum in May 2015. Government today also approved the establishment of a Referendum Commission
to provide the necessary public information on the referendum proposals.
Additionally, Minister Fitzgerald’s proposal that legislation to amend the constitution would be forwarded to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality for pre-legislative scrutiny was accepted. Minister Fitzgerald continued:
“I very much hope that in a referendum where many will have strong and sincerely held views on either side, we can campaign in a mutually respectful way.”
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin T.D., welcomed the decision stating:
“I am delighted to see that the Government has approved today’s memorandum on the holding of a Marriage Equality Referendum next year. This referendum will provide the people of Ireland with the opportunity to have their say on what is a crucial equality issue.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate groups such as the Union of Students in Ireland who registered over 20,000 students to vote last November. Their successful voter registration drive will allow for many young people and new voters to have their say on constitutional reform for the first time in 2015.
The approach that was agreed today will, I hope, allow for a calm and considered debate on the topic and I look forward to taking part in the future discussions.”