Civil Partnerships in Ireland

Civil Partnerships in Ireland

Civil Partnerships in Ireland started with the introduction of new legislation, which came into effect on the 1st Jan 2011, has seen hundreds of same-sex couples submit notice of intention to enter a civil partnership so their relationship may finally be legally recognized by the Irish state.

Barry Dignam and Hugh Walsh, who have become the unofficial public face of civil partnership in Ireland since being one of the first couples to be joined under legislation, as well as six other civil partnerships have already been registered in the State arising from court-granted exemptions to the usual three-month notice which couples must give to the General Registrar Office.

Up to April 1st the number of couples who had given notice of intention had reached 267 according to the Department of Social Protection. Since then, although no official figures have been released, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) estimate the number of same-sex relationships to received recognition in Ireland as and from January 13th, 2011 has reached 1,000+.

Although a huge leap forward, in terms of social acceptance in conservative Ireland, civil partnership still isn’t full gay marriage rights which remains the ultimate goal for the gay community, many of whom strongly believe that civil partnership does not go far enough and hope that full gay marriage rights may too happen in due time.

“This change is a pretty sizeable change although it is a pity it’s not full marriage” said Hugh Walsh.

“They are right as well. Anything which is not equality is not equal” he said, but added that he does not believe, like some, that civil partnership should be boycotted and would see himself as an incrementalist.

It seems, in general, the Irish population have been extremely supportive regarding the decision to implement new legislation and we hope they continue to do so for civil partnerships.