On 22nd May, Irish voters approved an amendment to their country’s constitution to recognise marriage between same sex couples on an equal basis with opposite sex couples. The vote marked the first time in history that marriage equality was approved in a nationwide popular vote…
The EDM is available online with a list of its supporters athttp://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/53. The text of the motion, which was tabled with cross-party support, is as follows:
That this House congratulates the Republic of Ireland on becoming the first country in the world to endorse the call for marriage equality in a popular vote; believes that Ireland has fulfilled the aspirations of equality campaigners by winning majority support in virtually every parliamentary constituency and concluding the referendum process with a decisive 62 per cent result; notes the remarks of Taoiseach Enda Kenny that those who voted in the privacy of the ballot box made a very public statement in the spirit of generosity, compassion, inclusion, love and equal marriage; recognises the support given by LGBT Irish in Britain, many of whom got the boat or flew back to participate on the day; further believes that the Irish vote can serve as a beacon of hope for those still facing oppression; and urges the Government to support LGBT equality around the world, most immediately in Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK and the island of Ireland where same-sex couples will still be barred from availing of their civil liberties.
I’m delighted to have tabled one of the first Early Day Motions of the new Parliament, celebrating this historic victory for equality.
It’s a sign of remarkable progress that, just 14 years after the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize marriage for same sex couples in 2001, Ireland has now increased to 22 the number of countries where full marriage equality is the law of the land.
But while we celebrate this result, it’s important also to remember that equality cannot be taken for granted across the world, or even within the UK. Northern Ireland is now the only part of the British Isles where LGBT couples lack the legal protections and the social recognition that marriage affords, so as advocates of LGBT equality we should all now redouble our efforts to make marriage a right, not a privilege that depends on where you live.