Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Gilmore: I support gay marriage

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore says the time has come for gay marriage

The time has come for gay marriage, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has declared.

As the Pride festival ended, the Labour leader said government, state and policy makers should no longer dictate who people fall in love with or who they decide to spend their lives with.

Mr Gilmore said that he believed that Irish law in the area is out of step with public opinion.

"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, it's time has come," he said.

Organisers of the Pride festival estimated more than 30,000 people attended a parade and party on the streets of Dublin on Saturday afternoon, up from 26,000 last year.

The Tanaiste said the event, in its 29th year, has become an important part of the city's social calendar and is an increasingly important attraction, bringing thousands of people to the city. "But while the event is primarily a social and cultural one, it also has a political dimension," he said.

"As leader of Labour, a party for whom the politics of personal freedom is so central, I acknowledge that when it comes to promoting understanding and respect, progress has been made in recent years. However, there are some outstanding matters, and if we as a party are serious about building a new progressive society, these are matters that we will have to resolve.

"I believe that in certain key areas, our laws are out of step with public opinion. I don't believe for example, that it should ever be the role of the State to pass judgment on whom a person falls in love with, or whom they want to spend their life with."

The issue of same sex marriage will be examined by the Constitutional Convention. Civil partnership was introduced in Ireland in 2010. The first public services took place in April last year giving couples the same rights in terms of tax, social welfare and other legal issues as married couples.

The theme of this year's pride parade was Show Your True Colours and for the first time every political party had representatives in the march.

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