A Dundalk LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender) rights coordinator has said same sex marriage should be legalised.
She also outlined the situation facing non-biological parents in same sex couples in Ireland to date.
Bernadine Quinn, the coordinator of Dundalk Outcomers for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender in the north east region has said the current legal position is the non-biological parent has no rights with regard to the child they are raising.
If the biological parent is unable to care for the child, the responsibility for care will then lie with the biological parents, or next of kin.
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is expected to publish legislation that will pave the way for the extensionof guardianship, custody, and access rights to the non-biological parents of children in same-sex relationships and children born through surrogacy and sperm and egg donation. The legislation, which is expected to be published later in they year, may also allow same sex couples to adopt.
Many people in same sex relationships, especially the non-biological parent, find it very distressing that they have no legal rights or say in how their child is treated in the eyes of the law, according to Bernadine Quinn.
“At least 90 per cent,” said Bernadine, “of the people find the issue of same sex marriage to be a legal one, and not a moral and religious on.
“It is the legal system preventing them from getting married. Our legislators can change those laws, and perhaps they will.
“The referendum on same sex marriage in 2015 will be a major event in Irish history and a huge turning point,” said Bernadine.
She hopes the Irish people will vote in favour of same sex marriage.
“I believe the Irish people are intelligent enough to know that same sex marriage is needed,” said Bernadine.
Since the introduction of civil partnerships here in 2010, over 1,500 same sex couples have decided to enter into a civil partnership.