Staying with the Republic, the Irish Times has an extraordinary picture of the Taoiseach sticking his tongue out at the launch the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network’s programme for equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Dublin yesterday. As Miriam Lord notes in her column in the Independent, it was another masterly stroke from a leader with an unerring instinct for timing:
…it’s difficult, particularly in this day and age, to believe that, yesterday, Bertie Ahern became the first Taoiseach to attend an Irish gay and lesbian event. Take the most recent crop of visionaries.
There was Charlie Haughey, and him a man of the world, and great friend and champion of the arty set. Albert Reynolds, steeped in showbiz. John Bruton, who surely must have empathised with the gay community, coming as he does from a marginalised group known as Fine Gael. And finally, Bertie Ahern, noted style icon and trendsetter when it comes to fashion and make-up. (Well, maybe not the style bit, but he spends an astonishing €18,000 a year on foundation and powder.)
Even so, not one of these men ever turned up to give their blessing to any event, no matter how worthy, organised by the gay community. Lots of words, but no confidence-building validation.
“Legislating for civil partnerships requires thinking through a host of related matters. The British Civil Partnership Act (2004) has 264 sections and 30 schedules. Moreover, our written Constitution gives rise to complexities that did not arise in the British case. This challenge, however, is one that the Government is determined to meet. We are committed to legislating on this issue.”
The government has established a working group on domestic partnership chaired by Anne Colley. Carl O’Brien in the Irish Times:
It will provide an analysis of categories of partnerships and relationships outside marriage to which legal effect and recognition may be given. As well as this, it will identify options over the extent to which legal recognition may be given to alternative forms of partnership, including those entered into outside the State.