Europe

Ireland's same-sex marriage bill passes final hurdle

Same-sex marriage is now legal in the Republic of Ireland
Image caption The Republic of Ireland's Presidential Commission has signed its same-sex marriage bill into law.

The Republic of Ireland's same-sex marriage bill has been signed into law by the Presidential Commission.

It became the first country in the world to introduce same-sex marriage by popular vote in May, when over 60% of voters supported the referendum.

The Bill passed through the upper house of the Irish parliament, the Seanad, last week.

With the presidential endorsement, the bill has cleared its final hurdle.

Last week, justice minister, Frances Fitzgerald, said the first same-sex marriages in the country would take place from the middle of November.

Senator Katherine Zappone, who had long campaigned for her Canadian marriage to her wife to be recognised in Ireland, called it "a defining moment".

"It is a deeply emotional moment for those of us who have campaigned for so long," she said.

"This victory truly belongs to the nation, it is a moment for us all."

In a memorable moment that unfolded live on national television after the referendum result was announced, Senator Zappone proposed to her wife Ann Louise Gilligan to re-marry her under Irish law.

Canon Charles Kenny, from the Church of Ireland's gay rights group Changing Attitude Ireland, welcomed the news, saying love "shouldn't be confined to people of different sex".

Mr Kenny said he does not think the issue of gay marriage will split the Church of Ireland.

"I think people in the church realise they have to give a bit," he said.

"Of course you get some alarmist talk when people are frightened, but on the whole, the church recognises that we're living in a different world to our grandparents.

"It would be terrible if it dug itself into a hole over the issue as the Catholic Church did, but I don't think it will."

Evelyne Paradis of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association paid tribute to Irish politicians, saying all the main political parties "put aside their partisan differences, to campaign for the greater goal of equality".

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