Brynn Craffey

Accuracy in media

Filed By Brynn Craffey | November 13, 2007 5:05 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Media
Tags: Ireland, marriage, New Jersey

I don’t usually read the Advocate, online or otherwise, but an Irish friend alerted me to this article, saying. “It’s just pure laziness since, if they bothered to ask anyone in Ireland, they would know that the government has been promising civil partnership forever, and then conveniently forgetting about it.”

Ireland to Introduce Civil Unions in 2008

Ireland's government announced late last week that it will introduce legislation legalizing civil unions for same-sex and heterosexual couples by March 2008.

Known as the Civil Unions Bill 2006, the legislation will provide gay couples with unions legally equivalent to marriage, akin to the Civil Partnership Act in the United Kingdom.

Ireland's Labour Party introduced the bill in February 2006, but the government postponed it due to questions about whether it contradicted the Irish constitution.
The bill will also include requirements for pensions, inheritance, next-of-kin status, and adoption.

The article, which is obviously taken almost verbatim from an Irish government press release, goes on to provide a few quotes out of context and a bit of accurate background information, but if you didn’t know better you’d think that same-sex civil unions were a done deal in Ireland, all we have to do is wait until next March.

If only.

First—and the reporter definitely should have made a few phone calls (namely, to a member of an opposition party) and phrased his story a lot less optimistically—the government only promised to research and write the bill, not put it up for a vote nor push it through.

And while Ireland is definitely moving toward legalizing some kind of same-sex civil unions in the near future, the government’s promise in this case leaves space enough to drive a lorry’s worth of delays through. Many activists are skeptical that Fianna Fail, the centrist, pro construction-industry majority party in government, will follow through by next spring.

The Irish economy is faltering, unemployment is rising, housing prices are stagnating or falling and FF—par for the course—is mired in scandals. The latest: government ministers granted themselves massive salary increases, then immediately called for pay freezes across the board in the public and private sectors, citing the shaky economy. Prime minister Bertie Ahern, as well as his minister of finance, Brian Cowen, now each make more than President George Bush. Ahern’s pay increase alone was more than many people here make in a year.

So forgive me and other interested parties if we don’t hold our breathes waiting for the government to come through on this promise.

As a member of the Green Party, in coalition with Fianna Fail since the summer, I intend to push the issue with my local TD (member of parliament), John Gormley, who also happens to be the minister of the environment. But the Greens, already under heavy criticism for entering into coalition with FF, disappointed many people by backing away from their previous support of the Labour civil union bill and voting against it this time around. I’m willing to give my party the benefit of the doubt and accept their explanation that the Labour bill was too quickly thrown together and thereby flawed. But don’t let me down on this a second time come spring.

In the meantime, need I remind you all? Take what you read in the news with a liberal grain of salt.

And Hassan Mirza,, and the Advocate, how about putting a bit more effort into getting your facts straight.

[Link repaired 14 Nov 07 at 07:45 GMT.]

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The article also states that the Irish High Court annulled a Canadian marriage. Only a Canadian court could do that, especially when what the High Court did was refuse to recognise the marriage- how can an unrecognized marriage be annulled? The case is ongoing to Europe, which should open a can of worms given that there is meant to be mutual respect for marriage etc. in other member states. The Netherlands and Belgium recognize Canadian marriage and allow their citizens (and residents) to marry, so how can Ireland argue with those member states?

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | November 14, 2007 2:49 AM

aishchai, you're right about the "annulment" phrasing. And as far as your question, "How can Ireland argue with those member states?" Ireland can't. As long as the EU remains as progressive as it is, it's only a matter of time until all EU member states recognize same-sex civil unions. It is rightly regarded as a civil rights issue.

It must have been more "liberal bias" from American media, Brynn. *snorts*