23 August 2006
The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has urged the Justice Department to stop putting pressure on the group set up to examine the issue of granting tax, pension and other rights to gay couples.
The Justice Department revealed that “most” submissions to the Working Group on Domestic Partnerships oppose changes to the law that would increase the entitlements of cohabitants, including gays and lesbians.
But USI branded the Justice Department’s decision to intervene with slanted details “deeply irresponsible”.
USI cited a high level of support for ending statutory discrimination against gays. It said the Justice Department must now let the working group continue its work without further interference.
USI President Colm Hamrogue said: “The working group on civil partnerships is coming under pressure to recommend unduly phlegmatic reforms to the law, which would not extend full legal protections to gays and lesbians in committed relationships.
“The working group must be allowed to make the necessary proposals for recognising the equal rights of all people who wish to formalise their relationships.”
USI lesbian, gay and bisexual spokesperson Steve Conlon said: “As well as recommending legal changes that would protect the rights of gays and lesbians in committed relationships, USI also expects the working group to inform the Justice Minister that denying the right of gays and lesbians to marry is fundamentally incompatible with his responsibility to uphold the European Convention on Human Rights.”