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Civil Partnership Bill ‘not enough’ for Ireland’s same-sex couples

Last update - Thursday, July 2, 2009, 15:55 By Metro Éireann

The Civil Partnership Bill, published last week by the Government, has provoked criticism from politicians and the gay community for stopping short of recognising civil marriage for same-sex couples.

In a statement, Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on equality and human rights Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said: “The Civil Partnership Bill does not go far enough to provide full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.”
The statement comes after a protest at the Dáil on Thursday last, when members of a gay rights pressure group chained themselves to the main gates outside Leinster House and unfurled a rainbow banner with the words ‘Marriage rights are equal rights.’
Ó Snodaigh’s sentiments were echoed by Sharon Mooney, who works as a bartender in Dublin gay bar The Dragon. “Anything than less full equality is not worth it. Gays deserve full rights,” she said.
Although she is not gay herself, Mooney said she has many homosexual friends who have experienced discrimination, which is something she finds hard to understand.
“I think gay people are so easy-going. I’m working at this bar for four years now and I never recognised any trouble or anything like that,” she says.
Nevertheless, Ó Snodaigh stated that the new bill represents a beginning.
“The necessity for the rights included in civil partnership, such as inheritance, adoption, visitation and residency rights are urgent and therefore we support their implementation through civil partnership even though it is not full equality,” he said. However, he still sees room for improvement.
“[Sinn Féin recognises] that some couples, both heterosexual and same sex, do not wish to marry and would only want a civil partnership status. Therefore we welcome the publication of the Civil Partnership Bill,” he explained.
“However, we agree that full equality for gays and lesbians will only be achieved by allowing those who wish to marry to do so. This should be legislated for immediately.”
As of press time the Gay Community Network was unable to comment.

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