Bruce Arnold

Critic of Public Affairs, writing about art, theatre, music and politics

Unforseen and Unintended Consequences of the Same-Sex Marriage

A Study Paper on Same-Sex Marriage, by a group of citizens with advice from senior counsel and academic lawyers, has helped me in my recent lecturing and writing. This on-going work of legal and social policy analysis attempts to fill the gap caused by Government failure to conduct or publish any form of analysis of what they intend in the Referendum. The following issues are covered: the equality argument, the rights of children, solemnising marriage, blood relations, constitutional policy, educational policy and the flawed wording.

As a non-lawyer, and indeed as a non-Irish speaker as well, I became aware of the impact Same-Sex Marriage on the existing legal framework on reading the Study Paper. I was deeply shocked that the Government could not possibly be aware of this. I give here examples from the issues listed above.


Another More Serious Problem in the Government's Way

It is good to know that the Government still has some capacity to listen to criticism. That was a the original feeling I had after the conclusion of my campaign on the ‘Flawed Wording’ of the Same-Sex Marriage amendment – wording that is now changed and was so announced by the Taoiseach on Tuesday.

However, my confidence in the capacity of our senior politicians to listen to criticism was short-lived. Within a day I received a letter from Eamon Gilmore, former leader of the Labour Party, telling me that the Oireachtas Translation Service had reassured the Government that my concerns “are unfounded and that the wording, as originally published, clearly allows both opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples to marry”. Since when did this “Service” manage constitutional texts or advise the Government on language matters?