Ireland is a step closer to same-sex weddings as bill clears committee

Ireland has passed another legislative hurdle in the journey to same-sex weddings, after its marriage bill was waved through committee stage.

The Republic of Ireland overwhelmingly voted in favour of equality in May this year, in a public referendum on same-sex marriage.

The government had pledged to legislate to permit weddings as soon as possible – but the plans were hit by delays due to a legal challenge to the ruling, and Parliamentary recess.

However, the country’s Marriage Bill is rapidlly passing through Parliament – with the Oireachtas Justice Committee approving it today without amendment.

The bill had already been introduced in the Dáil (lower house) earlier this month, and will now head back to the Dáil for final approval – the final stage in the complex legislative process.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice previously said the weddings would hopefully go ahead “before the end of this year” if all goes to plan.

The spokesperson said: “The first same-sex marriages will be those of couples who convert a notification of their intention to register a civil partnership into a notification of their intention to marry.

“The aim is to have the Bill enacted as quickly as possible, subject to the legislative process, so that the first same-sex marriages can take place this year.”

Ireland’s government also this month put its revolutionary new Gender Recognition Act into effect – meaning today transgender people can gain legal recognition without seeing a doctor.

The bold new Gender Recognition Bill, which passed through Parliament in July without issue, includes sweeping changes to allow transgender people to self-declare their gender.

The form to apply for an Irish GRC is just two pages long – compared to other countries, where the process is often full of bureaucratic hurdles. The two-page form compares to the five pages you’d have to fill out to replace a missing pensions book.