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Ireland announces it will recognize same-sex couples’ foreign marriages

Marriage equality

Flag of IrelandAlthough the Scottish parliament recently approved a marriage equality bill that will bring Scotland in line with England and Wales, which approved equal marriage for same-sex couples earlier last year, couples in Ireland will have to wait a bit longer until a referendum can be held on the issue in 2015.  In the meantime, though, they got some good news today about traveling abroad to wed, Gay Star News reports:

Same-sex couples who travel from Ireland to marry in the England, Wales and Scotland will have their status recognized pending a public vote next year.

A Department of Justice spokesman has confirmed that once a referendum allowing same-sex marriage in Ireland is passed, all foreign unions will be recognized.

‘A same-sex marriage contracted in England or Wales would be recognized as a marriage in Ireland, from the date on which same-sex marriage were to become available here, should be referendum to be held during the first half of 2015 pass,’ the spokesman said.

What that means, essentially, is that couples seeking to wed outside of Ireland can do so now (or after England, Wales and Scotland begin offering marriages later this year) and have those marriages recognized automatically when and if Ireland votes to allow marriage equality.  In the meantime, their marriages will be considered civil partnerships at home.

“Until the law is changed in Ireland, many people will go to England, Wales and Scotland, and even to locations such as New York and Spain, in order to get married,” Brian Sheehan, director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, told Gay Star News.  “So we hope that it won’t be too long until gay couples can get married here at home, rather than having to travel abroad.”


  • 1. KarlS  |  February 10, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Well, at least it's just a short ferry ride over to England! 🙂

  • 2. Straight Ally #3008  |  February 10, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Only one small step to full equality, not unlike the case in Oregon.

    Here's to the Emerald Isle:

  • 3. Dr. Z  |  February 10, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Slight difference: Oregon is recognizing OOS SSM now, where as Ireland seems to be saying that if the 2015 referendum passes, foreign SSM recognition will be retroactively recognized from the date of the marriage. Otherwise they're still civil partnerships.

    Lack of full legal recognition of SSM is getting more and more convoluted. I sympathize with those who are trying to develop interactive maps. In fact it would probably be more instructive at this point to do a map that accurately shows just how much of a crazy quilt we've got.

  • 4. Craig Nelson  |  February 10, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Not sure about this story. If the referendum is in favour of SSM then I kind of think they would automatically recognise foreign same sex marriages. Am I missing something?

  • 5. Michelle Evans  |  February 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I think that the major difference is that even though the vote won't take place for at least another year, any marriages performed now will be recognized retroactively. So this could have a large impact say on a couple where one of them passed away between getting married and having marriage fully recognized in Ireland.

    But the problem still is that if the vote fails in 2015, then all this is moot and the marriages would not be recognized as anything more than a partnership. Why do they have to wait to recognize the marriages only if the vote succeeds. We have several states that recognize out of state marriages even though they don't have marriage equality themselves. Nothing in those cases is contingent upon something which has not happened yet.

  • 6. Craig Nelson  |  February 10, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Sorry, makes little sense to me. What is being said is that if marriage becomes the law in Ireland people who had got married before that would then, at that point, be recognised. Is this not the same whenever SSM is legalised? To put it another way, who ever heard of SSM being introduced in a country without recognising foreign marriages?

  • 7. Valquiria  |  February 10, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    This isn't going to be a nail-biter. Polls show support over 75%, the government and every major political party will campaign in favor of a "yes" vote, and the face of the opposition will be Catholic bishops with no moral credibility.

  • 8. Christian  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Why are they pursuing a referendum? Why not just go to court or through parliament?

  • 9. Craig Nelson  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    It is to amend the Constitution which is currently felt to preclude SSM

  • 10. Christian  |  February 10, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    how so?

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