Seanad debates

Friday, 27 March 2015

An Bille um an gCeathrú Leasú is Tríocha ar an mBunreacht (Comhionannas Pósta) 2015: Céim an Choiste - Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015: Committee Stage


10:30 am

Photo of Sean BarrettSean Barrett (Independent) | Oireachtas source

The Presbyterian church in the United States declared itself in favour of same-sex marriage last Tuesday, and I have never accused Presbyterians of lacking conscience in addressing this or any other issue. Society should cherish and treasure those who want to express, and have asked us to allow them to express, their loyalty, commitment and dedication to one another. That should be recognised. I recognise that commitment and praise that loyalty and dedication which they wish to show to one another. LGBT people are valued members of this society.They do nothing that undermines the marriages of people who are heterosexual. There is no threat to anybody's marriage and nothing to worry their consciences in the slightest in the fact that other people wish to have institutional recognition for the commitment they wish to make. It comes after a period when marriage was in decline among heterosexual people, who felt it was a bourgeois institution. This resumption of interest in that institution as a commitment and as a bulwark in society is something we should commend. It is emphasising the spiritual, philosophical aspects of a relationship and not defining it in purely physical terms, such whether the couple can have children.

Wider society will gain because of the act of generosity that is here. We will cherish and bring in fully into our community the members of the LGBT community and they will not be undermining anybody. We have been through these barriers and the sky has never fallen in. The first woman bishop in the Anglican community serves as the bishop of Meath and Kildare. Society and institutions evolve, change and improve through time. It enriches society. Let us recognise the principles the Minister has brought before the House and not be sidetracked by issues such as apartheid in the cake industry, Protestant cakes, Catholic cakes and whatever other kind of cakes we want to have.


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