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Sinn Féin fully support marriage rights for same sex couples

21 February, 2007


Sinn Féin Equality Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh indicated Sinn Féin's support for the Civil Union Bill 2007 but argued in the Dáil this evening that equality will only be achieved by introducing full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. Speaking in the Dáil this evening Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Sinn Féin fully supports the right of same sex couples to marry and form a family, including by adoption." Deputy Ó Snodaigh went on to criticise the highly inflammatory remarks made by Polish President Lech Kaczynski to the effect that gay people pose a threat to the human race.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "On the ninth of February Italy passed a Bill approving Civil Union of same sex couples leaving Ireland and Greece as the only remaining pre-accession EU states without such legislation.

"Sinn Féin fully supports the right of same sex couples to marry and form a family, including by adoption. We also support the right of unmarried and same sex couples to enter into civil partnerships. We were the first party to try to enshrine this right into legislation, when Deputy Seán Crowe tabled an amendment to the Civil Registration Bill 2003 to provide for equal recognition of same-sex marriage. Both the Labour Party and Fine Gael abstained from that vote.

"The necessity for the rights included in civil partnership, such as inheritance, adoption, visitation and residency rights, are urgent and therefore we support their implementation through civil partnership even though it is not full equality. We also recognise that some couples, both heterosexual and same sex, do not wish to marry and would only want a civil partnership status. Therefore we support this Bill. However, we do believe that ultimately, full equality for gays and lesbians will only be achieved by allowing those who wish to marry to do so.

"The Government's delaying tactics are a disgrace and we oppose their obstruction of this Bill.

"The EU often paints itself as the protector of equality and human rights and preaches to other countries on the matter yet when my Sinn Féin colleague Cllr. Daithi Doolan criticised the Polish President yesterday in the Forum on Europe for banning a gay March in a Warsaw when he was Mayor he reacted by making highly inflammatory remarks to the effect that gay people pose a threat to the survival of the human race. Outbursts like this from current EU member states only serve to undermine any EU effort to encourage other countries such as Turkey to respect human rights." ENDS

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