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GLEN News / Press Releases
# 1 : Thursday 8-3-2012 @ 14:27
One Year On: Government Progress on Lesbian and Gay Equality The Government, in their first year in office, have delivered important progress for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

The Finance (No. 3) Act 2011, passed in July 2011, delivered equal treatment in the tax codes for civil partners, which was a key commitment in the Programme for Government. The Act also treated the children of civil partners the same as children of a married couple for taxation purposes, which offers important protections in key areas such as inheritance tax.

“The Government, in particular Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan TD, delivered on the tax elements of civil partnership in a comprehensive way. It is a major advance and provides huge practical support for civil partners” said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair.

Since Civil Partnership became generally available in April 2010, over 550 couples have entered civil partnerships, across every county in Ireland, to wide public acceptance.

The Government has enacted other legislation to address anomalies in Civil Partnership. For example the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter TD, brought forward legislation to ensure that civil partners were treated the same as married couples in Citizenship provisions, and extended the list of foreign same-sex marriages and civil partnerships recognised in Ireland. Progress is continuing, with the current Finance Bill 2012 addressing minor anomalies in the tax treatment of civil partnership.

In the area of education, the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD, became the first Minister for Education to address the issue of homophobic bullying in schools. Calling for the ‘elimination of homophobic bullying’ at the launch of a GLEN/Department of Education resource for school principals, the Minister is establishing a working group within the Department to chart ways in which schools can be safe and supportive environments for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and trangender students.

There are additional areas where progress is essential. The Programme for Government committed to address some of these areas.

“A critical omission from Civil Partnership is the provision of legal recognition and support of children in same-sex headed families. The Programme for Government committed to address these omissions and while we are pleased that it is in the current legislative programme for Government, we would encourage the Government to prioritise this issue and bring forward proposals that provide urgently needed protection for lesbian and gay families” continued Rose.

“We welcome the Government commitment to address the issue of provision of same-sex marriage in the forthcoming Constitutional Convention. This provides a critical opportunity to build on the progress of Civil Partnership and provide constitutional protection for our relationships. It also offers a very important opportunity to protect all families equally, including lesbian and gay headed families” continued Rose.

We would encourage the Government to consult widely on the makeup of the Constitutional Convention, to ensure that it can appropriately involve and represent both the very wide diversity of the Irish population and the diversity of civil society.

For further information:

Brian Sheehan (086) 2330417
Kieran Rose (086) 8151310

GLEN – Gay and Lesbian Equality Network
2 Exchange Street Upper, Dublin 8
t; + 353 1 6728650 m: + 353 86 2330417

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# 2 : Thursday 15-3-2012 @ 17:50
Irish Government Commits to Further Progress for Lesbian and Gay People at UN UPR The Irish Government today committed to further progress for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Ireland at the Geneva hearings of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review.

Ireland was responding today to recommendations raised by other countries at the UN Universal Periodic Review hearing last October. Two recommendations were important for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (LGBT) one from Spain on same-sex marriage and one from Switzerland on discrimination in employment.

“GLEN welcomes the Government’s acceptance of the Spanish recommendation on same-sex marriage and the commitment to review the provision of same-sex marriage through the forthcoming Constitutional Convention” said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair.

“This commitment offers the opportunity to build on the widespread acceptance of Civil Partnership, and the very significant progress for LGB people made by successive Irish Governments, to provide for civil marriage and constitutional protection for our relationships” said Rose.

“A key issue is the provision of legal recognition and support of children in same-sex headed families. The Programme for Government committed to address this issue and we would encourage the Government to prioritise and bring forward proposals that provide urgently needed protection for lesbian and gay families” continued Rose

The UPR recommendation from Switzerland addressed the potential for LGBT people and single parents to be discriminated against in employment in religious controlled institutions. The Government responded to this recommendation by stating that they were looking at how to address this issue.

While all employees in all employments are protected from dismissal on the basis of their sexual orientation through the 1993 Unfair Dismissals Act, this recommendation refers to an exemption (Section 37.1) in the Employment Equality Act which may be interpreted to allow religious run institutions, such as schools and hospitals, to discriminate against employees or prospective employees based on the ‘religious ethos’ of the institution.

“While no case has yet been brought which alleges discrimination in this context, the threat implied by this exemption has acted as a ‘chill factor’ for lesbian and gay teachers, and for divorced or separated people, or single parents, whose lives may possibly be interpreted to be contrary to the religious ethos of some religions. They have lived in fear for their jobs and their prospects within their employment” said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair.

“It is welcome that the Government undertook at the UPR hearing today to ensure that such people are not discriminated against. A Private Members Bill from Fianna Fail’s Senator Averil Power aims to remove this potential barrier for lesbian and gay teachers and for those who are divorced, separated or in civil partnerships. We would urge the Government to support his Bill to ensure that the potential for discrimination is removed.” said Rose.
# 3 : Thursday 15-3-2012 @ 19:15
They are rather cheerleading aren't they...
# 4 : Friday 16-3-2012 @ 16:32
GLEN to celebrate St. Patricks Day with President Higgins GLEN (the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) is delighted to be attending a reception for civic society hosted by President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin on the afternoon of St. Patricks Day.

“President Higgins has been a strong supporter of the rights of lesbian and gay people for many years. In difficult times, when gay people were excluded and marginalised, President Higgins was one of the clarion voices of solidarity and support. We remain grateful for his courage and leadership in those times, and since” said GLEN Chair, Kieran Rose.

“On St. Patricks Day, it is important to acknowledge the widespread support and acceptance of lesbian and gay people in Ireland. More and more lesbian and gay people are now living their lives openly, with the support of their family, friends and communities all across Ireland. Our visit to President Higgins today is a symbol of the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at the heart of Irish society” continued Kieran Rose

President Higgins, as a member of Oireachtas, played a key role in the achievement of all the major legislative advances for gay and lesbian people, including gay law reform, equality legislation and, most recently, the achievement of Civil Partnership.

Enormous progress has been made in the last 20 years for lesbian and gay people. We look forward to continuing this progress to achieve the equal participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all aspects of Irish society.
# 5 : Saturday 17-3-2012 @ 10:44
Someone said :
They are rather cheerleading aren't they...

# 6 : Saturday 17-3-2012 @ 14:11
Always good to hear good news, even if it is part of a spin.
Sometimes just close your eyes and the spin can be enjoyable.

Better than some people who so much wanted to deprive us of the civil partnership on the ground that:
1- it is not the perfection of marriage and better nothing than perfection;
2- they did not need it so they did not care if others did.

If only Labor was not turning into the Green Party now that they are in power...
# 7 : Saturday 17-3-2012 @ 18:01
Someone said :

I don't follow you?
# 8 : Monday 19-3-2012 @ 12:30
Are they paying you for this?

I noticed on Mamapoulet that BeLonG To were at the Aras reception too. Not that you'd know from what GLEN said...
# 9 : Monday 19-3-2012 @ 13:58
Someone said :
Are they paying you for this?

I noticed on Mamapoulet that BeLonG To were at the Aras reception too. Not that you'd know from what GLEN said...

So we're marriage equality. You think they'd just pool resources and use the same press release!
# 10 : Monday 19-3-2012 @ 14:30
Someone said :
So we're marriage equality. You think they'd just pool resources and use the same press release!

as I said GLEN like cheerleading themselves
# 11 : Sunday 1-4-2012 @ 22:43
GLEN welcomes Fine Gael approval of motion on same-sex marriage The Fine Gael Ard Fheis this afternoon approved a motion calling on the Government to prioritise consideration of same-sex marriage in the Constitutional Convention.

“The passing of today’s motion is a great step forwards in further building a political consensus for civil marriage for same-sex couples. All political parties have now taken policy positions supportive of civil marriage for same-sex couples. This is a very welcome development and builds on the widespread acceptance and support for the Civil Partnerships that are taking place all across the country”, said Kieran Rose, GLEN Chair.
# 12 : Sunday 1-4-2012 @ 22:57
What annoys me most about GLEN is that they seem to think that they have some sort of mandate to speak on behalf of the LGBT community in Ireland. That to me is sheer arrogance. GLEN does not speak for me.
# 13 : Monday 9-4-2012 @ 13:20
Education Minister Outlines Pathway to Tackle Homophobic Bullying GLEN and BeLonG To Youth Services strongly welcome the announcement today (Sunday 8th April) by the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn of his plans to address bullying in schools, in particular homophobic bullying.

"We strongly welcome the Minister’s announcement of a forum on bullying and the working group on homophobic bullying. The Department of Education and Skills are acting to make real the commitment in the Programme for Government to combat homophobic bullying” said Michael Barron, Executive Director of BeLonG To Youth Services and Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Director of Education Policy at GLEN.

“Minister Quinn recently spoke of 'developing a roadmap towards the elimination of homophobic bullying from our schools'. His commitment to achieving that goal, including through the plans he has put forward today, are to be commended" continued Barron

“The goal of eliminating homophobic bullying is a very realisable goal. The Minister’s Working Group provides a critically important opportunity to create safe, supportive and affirming schools for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people” said Irwin-Gowran.

The Minister today announced a forum on bullying to convene in May, and a working group on bullying which will take forward approaches to tackling the problem. The working group will initially address homophobic bullying before going on to look at other forms of bullying.

High level Department action is necessary as homophobic and transphobic bullying need to be addressed urgently. Irish research shows that young students who are or who are perceived to be LGBT experience very significant levels of homophobic and transphobic abuse in schools and that there is a direct link between homophobic bullying and serious mental health risk, including self-harm and attempted suicide, amongst LGBT young people.

“Simply put homophobic and transphobic bullying is putting young people's lives at risk. In this context today's announcement is all the more welcomed. We look forward to working with the Department and believe that together we can assign homophobic bullying to the history books” said Barron

Progress has been made by the Department of Education and the Education Partners in the last number of years. In partnership with GLEN, the Department has developed Guidelines for schools, principals, guidance counsellors and teachers which the Department has distributed to all second level schools.

The Department and the Education Partners have strongly supported BeLonG To's annual Stand Up! LGBT Awareness Week in schools, BeLonG To's primary and post-primary teacher training programme, and the development of an innovative programme on LGBT issues for Social, Personal and Health Education classes

“Despite this progress, homophobic bullying remains a serious problem in many primary and secondary schools. Homophobic bullying can significantly impact on the educational and life chances of a young LGBT person, and unchecked, it has an impact on all students who learn the high price of being different” said Irwin-Gowran

“The Departmental Working Group provides the unique opportunity to ensure that the initiatives above as well as other national and international innovative approaches are actually implemented in all schools through the support of the Department, leading to an eradication of homophobic and transphobic bullying in our schools” concluded Barron.

# 14 : Tuesday 10-4-2012 @ 13:49
Right to marry for all key to progressive Republic The move to civil union for gays and lesbians is not an immense legislative leap, but an incremental step built on civil partnership law

The right to marry is a basic human right, as set out in the UN Charter of Human Rights and other human rights treaties. In a democratic republic based on equal citizenship, civil marriage should be open to all citizens, including lesbians and gay men.

The fact that our Constitution and its provisions relating to marriage have been interpreted by the courts to exclude same-sex couples from this fundamental human right is deeply regrettable. While this constitutional barrier is in force, lesbians and gay men will not have full equality under our Constitution.

Public opinion is in favour of opening out civil marriage to same-sex couples. In a recent Government opinion poll 73 per cent were in favour of same-sex marriage. There is an all-party consensus, with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voting in favour of civil marriage for all. The Equality Authority and other bodies have also called for civil marriage.

Equally, the introduction of civil partnership in April last year has had a transformative effect on social attitudes and in the status of gay people in our society. In the nine months from April 2011 to the end of the year, more than 500 couples went to their registry offices in all counties and before the registrar solemnly affirmed their love and commitment to one another.

These legal commitments are then followed by joyful celebrations where family, friends, colleagues and neighbours give their affirmation of the profound commitment the couple have just given to one another.

These new civil partnership celebrations are extraordinary in their parallel to traditional wedding celebrations. One might have thought that this new status of civil partnership and the consequent celebration rituals would take some time to be established and widely accepted.

However, almost overnight and as if by some “hidden hand”, gay couples and their families and friends have adopted the traditional wedding rituals of the hotel reception, speeches with laughter and some teary moments, children running around, dinner, dancing . . . and the Fields of Athenry!

There has been an enthusiastic general welcome for these new wedding celebrations, as evidenced by the high-profile media coverage of delighted couples, including on the front pages of local newspapers throughout the country.

I suggest that the people of Ireland in this open-hearted welcoming of civil partnerships, have spoken and are saying we are entitled to marry. The hundreds of lesbian and gay couples who have publicly celebrated their civil partnerships have brought the day of civil marriages much, much closer.

To move to marriage now is not a massive legislative leap; it is an incremental step building on the powerful civil partnership legislation. With the singular exception of parenting (where reform is urgently needed) civil partnership provides almost all of the responsibilities and rights of civil marriage.

The Colley Working Group Report on Domestic Partnership (2006) laid the foundations for progress in this area, and was the intellectual basis for the civil partnership legislation and for the Labour Party’s Civil Unions Bill 2007, both closely modelled on marriage. The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) representative, Eoin Collins, successfully persuaded the working group that civil marriage was the ultimate solution. The Colley group report makes the powerful point that: “The introduction of civil marriage for same-sex couples would achieve equality of status with opposite sex couples and such recognition that would underpin a wider equality for gay and lesbian people.”

For example, the introduction of full constitutional equality would be another great signal and support for young people who are coming out, perhaps feeling isolated and vulnerable to bullying in school, that this State says that they are equally cherished under our Constitution.

The opening out of civil marriage to all couples would enhance our shared national values of equal citizenship and would have resonance in related areas of difference and inclusion such as ethnic origins.

I suggest that the “court of public opinion” has spoken, and that now is the time to take the next incremental step to the right to marry. In nearly all other countries that now have civil marriage, it was on the basis of civil partnership providing the “stepping stone”.

The Civil Partnership Act is a great achievement for Irish society and for the Oireachtas. Despite significant opposition at times, our legislators co-operated to get this complex piece of legislation on to the statute books in record time.

In 1993 we achieved decriminalisation of gay men based on equality, followed by powerful equality legislation, civil partnership, and now progress towards civil marriage.

In a relatively short period of time, Ireland has moved from being one of the most unwelcoming countries to gay people, to being one of the most progressive globally.

The constitutional convention provides a forum to further build a solid consensus for civil marriage and to tease out all the issues. Glen looks forward to this opportunity for further engagement so that civil marriage for lesbians and gays can be achieved as soon as possible. Kieran Rose is chair of Glen, a member of the board of the Equality Authority, and of the Working Group on the Merger of the Irish Human Rights Commission and the Equality Authority.
# 15 : Tuesday 10-4-2012 @ 16:19
Is someone from Glen angling to be made a senator or something?
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