Ireland joins a host of nations in the European Union that recognize and grant rights to same-sex couples. While the legislation falls short of full marriage equality, this marks a historic step in the staunchly Catholic nations history towards granting full equality to gay, lesbian, and bisexual Irish citizens.
"This bill provides legal protection for cohabiting couples and is an important step, particularly for same-sex couples, whose relationships have not previously been given legal recognition by the state," Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said in a statement.More work is needed to fight for full equality for LGBT people in Ireland. Please join the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network to ensure full equality in the country.
The legislation provides a range of previously denied rights including maintenance obligations, protection of a shared home and succession. "Balance is achieved by maintaining material distinctions between civil partnership and marriage, in particular between the rights attaching to both, while at the same time reflecting the equality rights protected by the constitution," Ahern said (Reuters).