Same Sex Marriage referendum is… when exactly?


Two Labour MEPs have today called for the government’s proposed referendum on the legalisation of the status of same-sex marriage to be moved forward to May 2014, to the same date as the Council and European elections.

MEPs Emer Costello and Phil Prendergast picked their moment to call for the decision in light of the Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s announcement last Wednesday that this would be the week when the date for the referendum would be set. Costello argued that moving the date forward would guarantee against the low voter presentation which afflicted the two most recent referenda, both of which logged at less than 40% turnout.

If MEPs Costello and Prendergast have their way, the referendum will take place between the 22nd and the 25th of May 2014.

Same sex marriage remains a hotly contested matter internationally, with opponents of any such legislation asserting that same sex unions represent threats to traditional family values and to the psychological health of children. The counter-argument has been that same sex couples are entitled to the same civic and legal rights as anyone else, and that there is no evidence of a damaging effect on children raised within such marriages. A marriage equality march held in Dublin in August this year drew thousands of supporters, with representatives from the National Union of Students and civic awareness groups such as LGBT Noise prominently insisting in the need for a change of legislation.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has made it clear that he wants the referendum to take place within the term of the current government, who are in office until 2015. In April the Constitutional Convention voted to recommend that the Constitution be amended to allow for Same Sex unions, should a referendum be passed their favour.

Do you know how, or if, you will vote?

By Ruairi Conneely