Donohoe and Reilly campaign for a fairer and more equal Ireland

8th May, 2015

Ministers James Reilly and Paschal Donohoe have spoken of the inadequacy of the current civil partnership status afforded to same sex relationships and highlighted the No side’s hypocrisy on the issue. The Ministers were speaking outside the Ireland v England cricket match in Malahide this morning where they and local TD, Alan Farrell were canvassing for a Yes vote.
Minister Reilly said: “The suggestion from the No side that civil partnerships are adequate fails to recognise the essential inequality in how the State treats gay relationships. I’m a married man. I wouldn’t trade in my marriage for a civil partnership. Why would I? It is not protected under our Constitution like my marriage is. I wouldn’t accept being told that my relationship is less than everybody else’s. I don’t want to live in an Orwellian world where all people are equal but some people are more equal than others’.

“We’re all on the same journey but some of us are at different stages. When civil partnerships were introduced some people opposed it as they are now opposing marriage equality. But I hope that in time to come they will accept equal marriage in the same way as they now accept civil partnerships.

“There is nothing to fear from extending the right to marry to all couples. You do not dilute a right by extending it. It won’t affect existing marriages in any way. This is not a hypothetical argument. This is about real people, our citizens. This was articulated to me perfectly by a young man I met yesterday at BelongTo. He said to me: “If the law doesn’t treat me equally, how can I expect people to treat me equally?”

Minister Donohoe said: Fine Gael was the first party in the State to publish a comprehensive civil partnership plan back in 2004 and we are now at the forefront of efforts to introduce full marriage equality.

“This issue is fundamentally about one thing; love. It is about allowing people in committed relationships to enjoy the same freedoms, the same liberties and the same securities heterosexual people do. It is not about any of the other issues that some are attempting to introduce in order to muddy the waters and deny same sex couples the joy and experience the rest of us do in being able to marry the person we love. We have come a long way in Ireland in terms of how we treat gay people. This is the next step on that journey.

“It is difficult to understate the importance of how the country casts its vote on May 22nd. This is about saying to gay people that we value them as equals. These people are our friends, neighbours, cousins. It is about sending and reinforcing a positive message to gay people now and in future generations to come that it is ok to be who you are and that Ireland is a place in which all citizens really are treated equally under the Constitution. By voting yes for Marriage Equality we can send a resoundingly positive message that we are all equal and that our relationships are truly valued, regardless of our sexual orientation.”