Civil Union Bill an important milestone on the road to equality
14 December 2006
Labour's Civil Unions Bill, which we moved in the Dáil today, is an important milestone on the road to full equality for gay and lesbian people. This is the first time that a Bill has been moved in the Dáil which would provide legal recognition and protection for couples of the same sex.
If passed, this Bill would have an immediate, significant and practical impact on the everyday lives of gay and lesbian couples. Those who choose to enter into a civil union would enjoy vital legal rights which married couples take for granted, in areas such as inheritance and taxation. The Bill would bring to end many of the routine forms of institutionalised discrimination that exist in our society and which impinge on in a very real way on people's lives.
It is our hope that the Bill will be debated in the Dáil early in the New Year. I call on TDs of all parties to support this Bill, and to make it law before the next General Election. Positive noises and supportive statements are all well and good. They need to be matched by action.
Achieving full equality for gay and lesbian couples is one of the great civil rights causes of our times. Once again, Labour is as the forefront of the campaign for equality.