And now onto the Seanad. It’s 21 years since the first European State passed a registered partnership bill. Ireland today is on it’s way to catching up – slow as ever.
The Bill passed without a vote and there were moving speeches at the end, some acknowledging the fact that the bill does not go far enough for many but that it is a start. And then there was Mattie McGrath TD. He got in at the end to say his bit and he’s not happy. But he was one of the very few.
Then there was a lot of noise in the public gallery – applause and lots of it as the Ceann Comhairle closed proceedings without a vote. I think the noise surprised a few people.
Green Minister Ciaran Cuffe TD tweeted pictures from the Dáíl Visitors Bar later on. This week the Green Party have seen 3 Bills pass that were important to them. Many are saying that has taken 3 years for the ‘Green effect’ in government to become truly visible. (And for some in Fianna Fail to realise they are in a coalition.)
Now is the moment where I’m supposed to say something about Dermot Ahern, sorry I can’t really, he has stood up to the bigots regarding conscientious objection but that’s as far as I can go as the equality and human rights institutions of the state remain so damaged. I will pay tribute to Charles Flanagan and Brendan Howlin for their contributions to the debate and attention to detail throughout. It has been interesting to watch all stages of the bill so far and learn even more about parliamentary processes and to watch many others watch the formation of legislation for the first time.
This is an emotional day for many and there will be more days to come as the legislation is enacted. One regular reader of this blog is in a relationship for over 30 years and emailed me yesterday saying she and her partner can’t wait. For others there continues to be uncertainty and great anger as their families continue to be ignored and unprotected. And there are also very many other burning issues that need to be tackled as it’s not all over yet in terms of true equality and respect for all in Ireland.
I oppose marriage as an institution and will continue to do so and continue to argue against the way in which queers seek this recognition as a mark of respect or an equal institution.
I may not shout about civil partnerships or want a ‘hats and aisle’ day myself but I do support those who want these rights to have them and hope my right not to be labelled or put in a box will also be respected. I also want to see a genuinely secular state where all can be free and celebrated no matter how we live our lives.
PS – Irish Rail - get ready to take down those bloody signs. The Social Welfare and Finance Bills are due in the Autumn and I look forward to the amendments to that piece of legislation in particular.