DUBLIN, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND – One of Ireland’s top politicians says that the time has come for gay marriage to be legalized. On June 30, during Dublin’s Pride Festival, Labor Party leader Eamon Gilmore, the nation’s deputy prime minister—or Tánaiste—said that lawmakers should not dictate the terms of with whom one chooses to spend their lives. “I believe in gay marriage. The right of gay couples to marry is, quite simply, the civil rights issue of this generation, and, in my opinion, its time has come,” Gilmore said.
Organizers say that 30,000 people attended Saturday’s event, Dublin’s 29th annual LGBT rights parade and street festival. “As leader of Labor, a party for whom the politics of personal freedom is so central, I acknowledge that when it comes to promoting understanding and respect, progress has been made in recent years,” noted Gilmore. “However, there are some outstanding matters, and if we as a party are serious about building a new progressive society, these are matters that we will have to resolve.
“I believe that in certain key areas, our laws are out of step with public opinion. I don’t believe for example, that it should ever be the role of the State to pass judgment on whom a person falls in love with, or whom they want to spend their life with.”
In 2010, civil partnership was introduced in the Republic of Ireland, which constitutes the 26 southern counties of the island of Ireland.
(Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, comprises the six counties of Ulster, in the island’s north.) Last April, the first public same sex unions were performed, which bestowed many of the same legal rights in as traditional marriage, but advocates say it doesn’t go far enough.