Same-sex marriage signed into law in Ireland

The first same-sex weddings could now take place within just two weeks.

Same-sex marriage was officially signed into law in Ireland on yesterday (October 29), five months after the historic referendum took place.

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, after the Seanad passed the bill last week, all that is needed now is a commencement order from the justice minister and the first weddings could take place in two weeks.

“The Presidential Commission today signed the ‘Marriage Bill 2015’ into law,” the president’s office said in a statement.

Senator Katherine Zappone called the signing “a defining moment” in Irish history.

“It is a deeply emotional moment for those of us who have campaigned for so long,” she said in a statement.

“This victory truly belongs to the nation, it is a moment for us all.”

LGBT activists have also praised those who fought to push the bill through as quickly as possible.

“Tribute must also be paid to national politicians in Ireland, as all the main political parties put aside their partisan differences to campaign for the greater goal of equality,” Evelyne Paradis of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association said in a statement.

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.

Last month, Ireland’s government also put its revolutionary new Gender Recognition Act into effect – meaning transgender people can now 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.