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Important that date is set for marriage equality referendum – Mac Lochlainn

5 November, 2013 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice and Equality Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has warmly welcomed today’s announcement by the Government that it intends to a hold a referendum on marriage equality in 2015.
However, the Donegal TD stressed that it is now important that the government adopt a pro-active approach in bringing forward the legislation to give effect to this referendum. Deputy Mac Lochlainn stated that a date for the referendum should now be set.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:
“The announcement is undoubtedly a positive and progressive move by the government. Sinn Féin will actively and enthusiastically campaign to ensure that the civil and legal rights of lesbian and gay people, including the right to marry, are fully protected in law.
“However, it is vital that today’s announcement be grounded in a timescale. This idea of “referendum fatigue” cannot be held-up as a reason for delaying the delivery of equality.
“I am sure that we can all create the mental and the emotional space to deal with a referendum, and no more so than when it concerns equality and the delivery of constitutionally entrenched rights.
“The government charged the constitutional convention to make recommendations on such matters and it recommended that this issue be put to the people. A reluctance to allow that process to flow unhindered would effectively undermine the credibility of the convention.
“I am getting married on Thursday and that brings with it a huge feeling of happiness. Every citizen, regardless of their sexual orientation, should be able to experience that feeling by expressing their love through marriage if they so wish.”
“Sinn Féin welcomes today’s announcement but we would now urge the government to set a date for this very important referendum.”

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