Berfore the debate took place yesterday you may remember hearing that FF were having a special meeting with Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Dermot Ahern. The meeting was to discuss the possible inclusion of an amendment protecting those who do not want to offer services to those registering their civil partnership or being involved in the registration of such a partnership.
(Called by some the ‘Freedom of Conscience’ amendment it’s now widely known as the Florist cop out (hence the blog post title) following my blog post on October 25 – and after last nights debate where florists were popular reference points and thought of being quite likely to want to sell their flowers ‘in the current climate’.)
Mary Minihan and Steven Carroll report today in the Irish Times that Ahern ruled out such an amendment with the meeting convenor, Deputy Sean Connick saying that the issue was covered by equality law and that such an amendment would ‘not be good law’.
So that’s that done – until Senator Ronan Mullen gets speaking in the Seanad puffing out his chest and doing his stint for Iona. Or maybe Fine Gael are pushed into making an amendment in the Dáil. Their spokesperson Charlie Flanagan TD said the matter had to be looked at in his speech tonight but was a bit vague as to how.
I’m not surprised that Ahern ruled this out as there is no precedent for individual objection in Irish law and it would make very poor law. The fact that those pushing the amendment were hounding politicians about it as a ruse for their objection of any recognition of same sex couples must also be very clear to the vast majority of our legislators given the amount of standard emails they received in the last few weeks.