When countries are beginning to change their old-fashion laws regarding marriage, we can begin to celebrate how far we’ve come as a society. This news is representative of what the people of Ireland have been demanding. What’s even more interesting is that it took a change in the country’s constitution for it to happen.
Shortly after the United States Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in June 2015, Ireland’s President, Michael Higgins, signed a similar amendment allowing for equal marriage opportunities among same-sex couples. Earlier in May, The Republic of Ireland successfully voted for the introduction of same-sex marriages in a required referendum. An overwhelming majority voted in favor(62.1%)while over a third (37.9) voted against it. Now that the amendment is signed, it can be brought before legislation for a final vote, since a referendum is now needed to change the country’s constitution.
The voting could take place as early as September, which – if passing legislation – will allow same-sex couples to begin getting married toward the end of the year. But things might become slightly complicated because opponents of the resulting referendum could seek legal action against the move. If this is the case, the Irish Times stated that the first weddings might not happen until later next year (2016). Either way, it appears the right changes are being made and it should be legal in a matter of months.
One government source explained that their hands are tied and are at the mercy of the courts. However, Frances Fitzgerald, the Irish justice minister, promised that he would not delay in implementing law and would take certain measures as soon as he possibly could. He said he was conscious of the fact that many couples are waiting in line to become legally married and is working hard to make that happen.
It looks promising although we are not completely out of the woods yet. Major constitutional change – no matter what country – takes time and, unfortunately, opposition. The battle seems well fought on this one, and Ireland’s President appears to be making decisions that are in-line with the people of Ireland – at least for same-sex marriage.