As we Americans once again try to get over the pain of another loss in the gay marriage battle (the New York Senate defeated a marriage bill there this week that had already been passed in the Assembly and that the governor was waiting anxiously to sign into law), word comes from across the Big Pond that lawmakers in Ireland this week opened debate on a bill to grant marriage-style rights to same-sex couples there.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said today that the Civil Partnerships Bill would give same-sex couples the same rights as married straight couples in matters of inheritance, medical care and medical decisions and access to state benefits. The bill would also allow one partner to demand financial support from the other in the event of a break up.
There are some lawmakers in the ruling Fianna Fail party who are expected to oppose the Civil Partnerships Bill, but strong support in the opposition parties is expected to insure the measure’s passage sometime this month.
That’s really something when you consider that the Roman Catholic Church — which has been a major force in managing to slap down marriage equality here in the States — is a strong presence in Ireland, not to mention that homosexuality was a criminal offense on the Emerald Isle until 1993.