Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister has promised the country will vote on same-sex marriage.
Eamon Gimore, the Tánaiste, said there will likely be a referendum on the issue after an overwhelming majority of the Constitutional Convention think-tank voted to recommend it.
But a spokesman for the Labour party politician has said he wants to push for legislation to allow gay couples to adopt children before Ireland votes on marriage equality.
‘Any referendum that takes place will have to be about marriage equality and not about other issues,’ he said.
Speaking at a Labour Youth meeting over the weekend, Gilmore suggested autumn 2014 or spring 2015 as possible dates.
Gay people in Ireland can only adopt a child as a single parent, and not as a couple. Civil partnerships have only been available since 2011.
Michael McNamara, a Labour representative, told the Irish Independent he was fully supportive of Gilmore’s plan for a referendum.
But he warned his party should prepare for a ‘fallback plan’ to support same-sex marriage legislation if the referendum had not been held by October 2015.
Kieron Rose, Gay and Lesbian Equality Network chair, said he strongly welcomed the commitment by the Tánaiste to hold a referendum in the lifetime of the Government.
‘We believe that the people of Ireland will continue their warm acceptance of lesbian and gay couples and families and that a yes vote can be carried in a referendum that would provide access to civil marriage,’ he said.
‘The overwhelming vote at the Constitutional Convention, the widespread celebration of civil partnerships all across the country and the growing public and political support for marriage mean that Ireland is now ready to move to the next step of providing access to civil marriage and full Constitutional protection for lesbian and gay people and families.’
A 2013 survey showed 73% of Irish people agreed ‘same sex marriage should be allowed in the Constitution’.