The President had opened the original headquarters of Outhouse in South William Street (I think that was the location, just down the road from the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre). Mary made a powerful speech at the function. Those of us there were quite moved by it.returning officer said:I have to say she impressed me - which makes me wonder why the new gay centre place in Dublin was opened by Ahern who has done absolutely nothing for gay people and not be the President?
Nobody would claim that Ahern is pro-gay or maybe not even gay-friendly, but the following where brought in on his watch (leaving aside the European dimension, the British have only just got around to the equality in goods and services - some 7 years after us). Are these nothing?
The Employment Equality Act in 1998 to outlaw discrimination on nine distinct grounds.
The Equal Status Act 2000 provided protection for the first time against discrimination outside the field of employment.
The Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 outlaws discrimination in occupational pensions on the same nine grounds, including sexual orientation.
The Health Insurance (Amendment) 2001 prohibits the varying, on the grounds of age, sex or sexual orientation, of amounts payable by insurers in respect of the treatment and care of insured persons.
Our Parental Leave (Amendment) Act 2006 extended the existing force majeure leave entitlement, in section 13 of the Parental Leave Act 1998, to employees in respect of persons, including same-sex partners, with whom they have a relationship of domestic dependency.
The Earl of Desmond said:They were brought in by the EU so whether he wanted to or not he would have had to include sexual orientation at some point.
Ahern is not a crusader or policy driven leader on any issue it is safe to say
It is worth mentioning that all parties were committed in their manifestos to introducing civil partnerships. It was thought serious enough to make an explicit commitment. FG went so far as to run ads in the gay press on its proposals. The commitment of all parties on the issue was striking. If FF doesn't deliver, I would expect FG, or Labour, or someone else, to introduce a private members bill on the issue.returning officer said:Civil partnership is the Programe for Government (the last paragraph).
S. 37 of the Employment Equality has never been invoked.
Recognition of marriage by a same-sex couple is coming before the Supreme Court.
The gardai have specific liason officers to address concerns of gay people.
The Equality Tribunal and Authority set up under the above legislation are very pro-active but have received very few complaints from gay people.
What more is Ahern to do?
I find it baffling that people give more credit to a holder of an honourary office who makes a fine speech or who was in a previous capacity a legal advisor, than they do to an executive office holder who oversaw actual and practical reforms over the last ten years. Ahern (or BIFFO) will never be tagged as pro-gay, but so what, it is better to be gay in Ireland in 2007 than it was in 1997 and definitely 1987. Giving credit to the EEC/EU or lawyers over the government is simply blind political prejudice.
no one really pays any attention at all to the president.The Earl of Desmond said:I seems President McAleese made a very worthwhile speech on bullying in Ireland the issue of binge drinking and drug taking.
Will it make any difference?
Hear hear.scotusone said:if we want to divvy out plaudits for advancing gay rights then Maire geoghan-quinn deserves some credit for her role in pushing decriminalisation up the priority list and then insisting on a genuinely fair piece of legislation and refusing to accept discriminatory amendments .