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 Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

Under the equal status legislation, we clearly have a religious ground. It is always open to people to take cases. Senator Walsh is asking me to comment on a different piece of legislation here, but I will just say that clearly there is a religious ground on which people can take a case if they feel they are being discriminated against. If any of the scenarios he described were to emerge, clearly, there is an equal status Act. The religious ground has featured very little to date, in fact, which is interesting. It suggests that there is little evidence in practice of the providers of goods and services being compelled to provide goods and services against their will. That is the reality. We have legislation and we have constitutional protection for religion and for freedom of conscience, and in this referendum the people are being asked to extend the right to marriage. The Supreme Court will interpret in a harmonious way, as it always does, the various provisions of the Constitution. I have nothing further to add.

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