Sunday, April 14, 2013

Comhghairdeas Éire!

The Convention on the Constitution is a new venture in participative democracy in Ireland tasked with considering certain aspects of the Constitution to ensure that it is fully equipped for the 21st Century and making recommendations to the Oireachtas (the Irish Houses of parliament) on future amendments to be put to the people in referendums.

The Convention is a decision-making forum of 100 people, made up of 66 citizens, randomly selected and broadly representative of Irish society; 33 parliamentarians, nominated by their respective political parties and including an elected representative from each of the political parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly which accepted an invitation from the Government; and myself as it’s an independent Chairman.

One of the tasks that have been given to the Convention to consider are provisions for same-sex marriage.

The Convention on the Constitution met over two days this weekend to report recommendations to the Houses of the Oireachtas on constitutional provision for same-sex marriage.

The Convention decided to recommend that the Constitution be changed to allow for civil marriage for same-sex couples by:
Yes - 79%
 No - 19%
 No opinion – 1%

The members of the Convention were also asked what form the amendment should take. The convention decided that the amendment should be directive by
 Permissive  (‘the State may enact laws providing for same-sex marriage’) – 17% 
Directive (‘the State shall enact laws providing for same-sex marriage’) – 78%
 No opinion – 1%

A final question asked delegates if they agreed, disagreed or had no opinion that ‘having regard to the changed arrangements in relation to marriage, the State shall enact laws incorporating changed arrangements in regard to the parentage, guardianship and the upbringing of children’.

On this question the Convention decided:
Yes – 81%
 No – 12%
 No opinion – 2%
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The matter now goes back to the Oireachtas för

After the report is officially sent to the Oireachtas, the Government is committed to responding within four months by way of a debate in the Oireachtas and if it agrees with the recommendation to amend the Constitution, to include a timeframe for a referendum.

Congratulations Ireland!

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