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Ireland president signs same-sex marriage into constitution

Ireland president signs same-sex marriage into constitution

Irish President Michael Higgins.

Irish President Michael Higgins has signed gay marriage into the constitution.

The amendment, which states ‘marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex,’ was signed on Saturday (29 August) at the president’s residence.

‘This is a historic moment for LGBT people and everyone in Ireland. After the joyful scenes that followed the resounding Yes vote last May, it is wonderful that President Higgins has signed the [Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Act 2015] and made the result official,’ said Kieran Rose, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network.

‘We look forward to the Oireachtas passing the necessary enabling legislation to allow the first civil marriages for lesbian and gay people to take place as soon as it returns.’

Ireland became the first country to legalize gay marriage by referendum in May, with 62% voting for a bill changing to the constitutional definition of marriage. But the president had to sign the act into law before legislation implementing gay marriage could come before parliament when it opens next month.

‘In the coming weeks, we will see the new Marriage Bill 2015 introduced to make the changes in the law and to make it a reality that in Ireland in 2015, marriages will be possible between people without distinction as to their sex,’ Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald explained.