Jul 102012
Sinn Féin Cllr Chris O’Leary

Cork made history last night after the city council became the first local authority in the Republic of Ireland to vote for gay marriage.

The vote — which occurred at the end of a long council meeting — was passed unanimously and without debate, with parties from all sides of the political divide voting in favour of the Sinn Féin motion.

The move follows a similar motion put down by Sinn Féin and passed by Belfast City Council.

Speaking after the vote, Sinn Féin Cllr Chris O’Leary said Cork showed it was sending out the right message in support of the legalisation of gay marriage.

“It was passed without a debate and in many ways that sends out the right message to people in same sex relationships, that are in love and want that to be recognised through marriage,” he said.

“The same motion was passed in Belfast and all the political parties here voted for it too.”

Cllr O’Leary said it was now time for the Government to step up to the plate and finally legislate for marriage for gay people.

“Now it’s time for the Government to make gay marriage legal and bring in the relevant legislation. They have talked about it but hopefully this vote will lead other local authorities to do the same thing and it will gain momentum across the country.

“It’s about recognising diversity. People in long-term same-sex relationships feel they don’t have anything other than a civil partnership and they should have the right to marry.”

Meanwhile, Leo Varadkar has given the strongest support of any Fine Gael minister to date in favour of gay marriage.

The transport minister said the Constitutional Convention would make recommendations but he would “probably vote yes” in a poll on the issue.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny is also likely to come under further pressure to state his position on the issue of gay marriage in the Dáil today.

Last week, Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said “the time has come” for marriage equality. He said it was “the civil rights issue of this generation”.

Conall Ó Fátharta