Ireland’s deputy prime minister Eamon Gilmore has publicly backed gay marriage, calling it the ‘civil rights issue of this generation’.
The TÃ¡naiste has joined world leaders such as Barack Obama in calling for same-sex marriage to be recognized and said the issue would be discussed by the government during Constitutional Convention talks later this year.
Speaking in Dublin, he also congratulated organizers of the city’s gay pride celebrations, which saw 30,000 take part in the main parade on Saturday (30 June).
‘I don’t believe for example, that it should ever be the role of the state to pass judgement on whom a person falls in love with, or whom they want to spend their life with,’ he said, reported the Irish Examiner.
‘I believe in gay marriage. The right of gay couples to marry is, quite simply, the civil rights issue of this generation, and, in my opinion, its time has come.’
Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) has welcomed Gilmore’s support for gay marriage, saying his views are now more in step with public opinion.
‘The huge popular enthusiasm and support for civil partnerships across the country and the polls showing 73% public support, demonstrate that Ireland is ready to move to civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples,’ said Kieran Rose, GLEN chairman.
Rose added that all political parties are now behind LGBT equality.
He added: ‘To move to marriage now and provide full constitutional equality for lesbian and gay people is not a massive legislative leap; it is an incremental step building on the success of our civil partnership legislation.
‘The forthcoming Constitutional Convention provides a further opportunity to tease out any issues and to further build a solid consensus for civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples.’