WELCOMING the establishment of the Constitutional Convention, Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy and Chair of the Party’s LGBT Group, Jerry Buttimer, said the examination by the Convention of the provision for same-sex marriage delivers on a commitment contained in the Programme for Government.
“Next week we will celebrate two years since the introduction of the civil partnership legislation. Since then, 738 couples have committed to each other through same-sex, civil partnership unions. It must be acknowledged that the world has not ended as a result and that Irish society is now viewed as being more tolerant of LGBT people.
“As one of five gay Oireachtas Members, I cannot celebrate the union of my relationship in the same way that a man and a woman can. What is before us as parliamentarians and citizens, in respect of same-sex marriage is the equal treatment all of our citizens under Bunreacht na hÉireann.
“The Taoiseach was correct last week in not succumbing to the pressure and tactics of some to say ‘Yea’, some say ‘Nay’. This issue should not be treated as a political football, as has been attempted by some. This is about the lives of our citizens and about making their lives better through the fair and equal treatment under the Constitution.
“I am proud of the Taoiseach and Tánaiste who have undertaken, through the Convention, to examine this issue of same-sex marriage, among others. It is incumbent on all of us as leaders in our society to seek to change the attitudes where LGBT people and inequality are concerned.
“Last week in our capital city, all of our political parties had the courage to walk in our annual celebration of diversity at the Dublin Pride Parade. That is the Ireland for which we strive. We have seen the great progress we have made in respect of the peace process and by the Government with regard to the economy. Together, we must take the issue of same-sex marriage, the union of two people, and normalise it, centring on the celebration of love and the rich tapestry of relationships that makes Irish society what it is today.
“The Constitutional Convention is a significant step forward. It is a commitment to go to the people. It is about saying that the 1916 Rising was worthwhile and that the Stonewall riots were worthwhile. It is about saying that civil partnership is a progressive step on the road to full equality; and that’s a journey worth taking.”