Civil Partnership Bill - Institutionalised Discrimination

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The Civil Partnership Bill was signed into law in July and the first civil registrations are expected early next year. The new legislation provides same-sex (and heterosexual) couples with ‘marriage-like benefits’ and can be seen as a move towards equality for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transsexual) people.

However, the legislation does not place civil partnerships on an equal footing with civil marriages (for straight people only). Families based on civil partnership will not be provided with the same legal protection as families based on a married couple. As such, LGBT parents will not be entitled to the same adoption and guardianship rights, while the areas of tax and social welfare entitlements have yet to be finalised.

The WSM does not support the civil partnership legislation and calls for the right to full civil marriage for LGBT couples. Some people argue that civil partnership is a worthwhile reform, because it is better than no rights at all, and at some point in the future, we can struggle for further rights for LGBT people on the basis of this legislation.
The WSM accepts and fights for worthwhile reforms all the time, notably in the area of reproductive rights for women. However, we feel that this is one reform that just doesn’t go far enough as we do not see why full civil marriage rights were not extended to same-sex couples. In similar societies to Ireland, such as Spain, Portugal, Canada, Argentina, Sweden and Norway, among other countries, same-sex marriage is a right for LGBT couples. Civil Partnership will institutionalise and maintain the continued discrimination of LGBT couples and families based on LGBT parents – separate rights are not equal rights!

The society we live in is capitalist; a system based on inequality, which creates many types of discrimination, and maintains and benefits from them, so it is hardly surprising that LGBT people are discriminated against. Anarchists believe in equal rights for everyone in society and the elimination of all types of discrimination, whether it’s based on class, sex, disability, race, gender, age or sexual orientation. We want a society based on equality, which can only come from the organisation and collective action of ordinary people struggling to overcome discrimination. The WSM supports the LGBT movement in its aims to achieve full civil marriage and full equality and to force the Irish state to stop supporting the continued discrimination against LGBT people and their families.

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