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
I am sorry to press the Minister but I need to. The public deserves that the Minister would address this more specifically, with the assistance of her officials. They are doing Trojan work, and I have noticed them here for the Children and Family Relationship Bill as well. They are working on many issues that are obviously connected to that extent. The officials have just moved chairs overnight.
It is all very well to talk about the difference between legal and constitutional rights but the Minister knows as well as I and everyone else that what the Constitution is interpreted to mean affects the laws we can have in the country. It affects what legislative rights can stand and those which cannot. We also know that is contained in a constitutional text is subject to interpretation by the courts. The Minister has correctly said that these will be interpreted harmoniously. When something is added to the Constitution, the balance is changed by definition. I have asked the Minister for a specific answer, and Senator Quinn is supporting me in that request. What would happen if a future Oireachtas proposed to change the provisions on donor-assisted human reproduction so as to require that it could only occur in the context of father-mother parenting?
If it were proposed that, in adoption decisions, an essential aspect of the best interests of the child would have to be the possibility of a father and mother, save in exceptional cases, would or could anything in this referendum proposal render such a change unconstitutional? Is it the Minister's view that it could not have any impact and the issue would be determined in the same way as if marriage had not been redefined?