Irish Constitutional Convention decision welcomed by marriage equality supporters

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The Constitutional Convention, which voted in Dublin today to recommend that same-sex marriage be legalised in Ireland, has been applauded by politicians, religious organisations and gay rights groups.

79 out of 100 Convention members voted in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in the Irish Constitution. The recommendation must now be responded to by the government within four months.

Tanaiste (deputy prime minister) Eamon Gilmore said he supported the vote as a sign of progress.

He said: “I have always believed that our laws reflect the past, not the future on this issue. It’s not the role of the State to pass judgment on who a person falls in love with, or who they want to spend their life with.”

Dr Richard O’Leary, co-founder of progressive Church of Ireland group Changing Attitude Ireland, said: “The vote for equality by the Constitutional Convention has shown that the people of Ireland wish to end the second class citizenship of gay and lesbians persons.

“Changing Attitude Ireland also thought that the existing strong protections in the Irish Constitution for freedom of religion were entirely adequate and that there was no further need to amend them in the light of the extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples”.

Brian Sheehan, of Gay and Lesbian Equality Network said: “It builds on the extraordinary progress we have achieved over the last 20 years, and clearly demonstrates that Ireland is ready to take the next step to complete that remarkable journey.”

Some groups were unhappy with the decision, with Catholic lobby group the Iona Institute saying religious freedom was not considered carefully enough by the Convention.

Their spokesperson, David Quinn, said: “The fact that convention delegates, and especially many of the politician delegates, were so dismissive of religious freedom concerns indicates that if same-sex marriage is one day part of our law, organisations that dissent from this view of marriage will find what amounts to a new orthodoxy imposed upon them.”

Earlier this year a poll commissioned by Marriage Equality Ireland showed that the percentage of people in support of equal marriage had risen by 12%, since 2008, and in 2012 was 75%.