Wednesday, 14 June 2006
Pat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
The committee recommended legislation rather than constitutional change to give rights to non-marital heterosexual and same sex couples. The Taoiseach is correct that a constitutional amendment was not recommended. However, the committee took the view that people in non-traditional marital or couple arrangements should have the same rights as other citizens and it recommended legislative change. The committee recommended legislation to provide for cohabiting, heterosexual couples by either a civil partnership or a presumptive scheme. It recommended that civil partnership legislation should be provided for same sex couples. It also recommended similar legislation to meet the needs of other long-term cohabiting couples.
Does the Taoiseach accept that this is an issue of acute concern, for obvious reasons, for a significant number of our population? Am I right in deducing that the Government has decided to kick the issue to touch and that no legislation will be brought forward in the lifetime of this Dáil?