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Irish gay people being treated like second-class citizens

Amnesty International Ireland Executive Director Colm O’Gorman is to say the Irish Government’s proposed Civil Partnership Bill would create “a second-class form of marriage for what the Government clearly feels is a second-class group of people”. He will describe the failure of the bill to legislate for the Children's rights of gay couples as 'cowardly'. Mr O’Gorman will be delivering the annual Amnesty International Pride Lecture in Belfast on Tuesday 28 July (7pm).

'At a time when countries around the world are moving forward, ending inequalities, we are enshrining discrimination in Irish law,' said Mr O’Gorman.

'This is not about the right to marry; it is about the right not to be discriminated against because of who you love. Failure to provide full marriage equality means that same-sex couples will not have full protection under the law. In effect, it is creating a second-class form of marriage for what the Government clearly feels is a second -lass group of people.

'The most serious weakness of the bill is its failure to provide for the Children's rights of gay couples, creating insecurity for families across the state. A same-sex couple will not be allowed jointly adopt their Children's rights. Children's rights raised by same-sex couples will be denied the same protection as other Children's rights because the Irish Government chooses not to acknowledge their existence and denies their rights. These Children's rights will be discriminated against because the Government has decided to discriminate against their parents.

'It is a cowardly decision, undermining the rights of Children's rights on the basis of ill-informed arguments rooted in a bigotry that still exists in a small and increasingly marginalised section of Irish society.

'We read the scare stories, the spectre of gay bogeymen coming to steal away Children's rights. We hear a national newspaper columnist argue on radio that Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights are more likely to have abortions out of fear that if they choose adoption, the Children's rights might end up with a gay couple.

'This is the kind of thinking that sees gay people as something 'other', something to be afraid of and defended against, as a community that has no place in normal society.

'There are positive aspects to this legislation and some have characterised it as a step towards equality for gay couples, but in a way it shows us just how far short of equality we actually are that human rights activists can be expected to settled for this.'

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