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Irish Civil Partnership legisation enters the Irish parliament: passage almost certain.

It is with some satisfaction and relief that I can say that Civil Partnership legislation has just been brought forward for debate and passage in the Dail (Irish Parliament).

The timing is pretty good. With the black cloud of clerical abuse in the Catholic church looming over the country and a string of bishops ready to fall like dominos, people are now, more than ever, aware of the contrast presented between happy couples in consensual sexual relationships and the warped forces of religious sexual oppression that are at the forefront of fighting recognition of those relationships.

The bill is not a perfect one; adoption rights are not addressed, and I myself joined an full marriage march only two months ago. There are provisions in the Irish Constitution that enforce the defence of marriage (that nonetheless did not prevent the legalization of divorce) which are cited as justification for the withholding of full marriage.  But we must remember that this is a conservative Fianna Fail government and a very unpopular one; we can hope for swift progess in the courts under the future leadership of any other party or coalition.

Passage of the bill is almost a fait accompli, since support for it is greater outside the party that is proposing it. Right-wing attempts to incude exemptions for religious organisations and service providers have failed. After 13 years, I will be able to take serious steps towards naturalising my American partner.

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