‘Civil partnership’ not the same as ‘same sex marriage’

Dear Editor,

Dear Editor,

I am writing regarding your article “Lesbian couple make history with Tipperary’s first civil partnership” (Nationalist & Munster Advertiser, Thursday, September 29, 2011). In this article, speaking of the difference between Civil Partnership and marriage, Aileen Hahesy writes that “The only difference was that they weren’t allowed to call each other wife, which they were both disappointed about.”

Although the Civil Partnership legislation is an important stepping stone in the government’s recognition of same sex relationships, Marriage Equality shares the view with other civil rights organisations that Civil Partnership is a separate and unequal system of relationship recognition for same sex couples and is not equality. While same sex couples are able to enter in to civil partnerships by having a civil partnership ceremony, this should not be confused with allowing same sex couples the right to marry in a civil ceremony.

“Missing Pieces”, a new report launched recently by Marriage Equality, identifies 169 differences between Civil Partnership and marriage. The differences between marriage and civil partnerships include vital issues like the protection of children (in terms of next of kin, inheritance and adoption rights) – all of which are lacking from civil partnerships. We in Marriage Equality hope that the new Government will upgrade the current Civil Partnership legislation to marriage equality in the next few years.

Marriage Equality and our supporters are working hard to ensure that this WILL become a reality in the near future, and we look forward to the day when we WILL be able to celebrate “same sex marriages”, both in Munster and around Ireland.

We hope that you understand why it is important to make this distinction, so that your readers understand the urgent need to keep pushing for equality for all families.

Yours, Moninne Griffith, Director – Marriage Equality, 105 Capel Street, Dublin 1