Irish President Mary McAleese has signed into law the provision of Civil Partnerships, which will provide Irish gay and lesbian couples with a legal status almost identical to that of heterosexual married couples - but not adoption rights. This is very similar to the UK Civil Partnership legislation. That too does not cover adoption, which was provided for separately.
In this deeply Catholic country, the legislation was strongly opposed by the Catholic bishops - who lost badly, It is notable that this legislation was not just passed, but warmly welcomed by the Justice Minster as "one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation ... since independence"
Signing into law of new civil Bill welcomed
THE SIGNING into law yesterday of the Civil Partnership Bill was welcomed across the political spectrum and also by groups that have campaigned for legal recognition for same-sex couples in Ireland.
The Bill was signed into law by President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin yesterday morning.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said it was “one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation to be enacted since independence”.
The Green Party’s justice spokesman Trevor Sargent also warmly welcomed the development, describing it as a significant step forward and a stepping stone towards greater equality in society.
While the Bill has now been enacted, it cannot fully commence until commensurate changes take place in social welfare, tax and pensions legislation.
Those changes are likely to be made in the Finance Bill and Social Welfare Bill drafted following December’s budget.
The changes will pave the way for the first civil partnership registrations to take place in January next year.
-(Full report from the Irish Times)