The Government's pledge to give legal recognition to same-sex couples is "virtually meaningless", the Labour Party has claimed.
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Eamon Gilmore says Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan's promise last night to have the heads of a Bill to legislate for civil partnerships ready by next March kicked the issue off the agenda into "the indefinite future".
Speaking in the Dáil today, the Labour leader said the Government rejection of his party's Civil Unions Bill represented a climbdown on what was on offer during the previous programme for government under then-minister for justice, Michael McDowell.
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This is kind of a weird one. Essentially a Justice Minister (an actual legislator but also part of the justice department) stated that Ireland would codify gay relationships. Later, the conservative Labour Party rejected that assertion, placing it any initiative on indefinite hold. In a way, Labour is following the Fred Thompson strategy on gay marriage. They are denouncing attempts by judicial parties to rule on something they think is a matter of legislation. We’ll see how this shakes out. No one likes having issues near and dear to their heart put on hiatus. This should be important to Americans because most of us think we’re Irish (hence the popularity of The Departed) and because Ireland is probably the most similar European country to the US.