Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has reiterated his support for same-sex marriage and says he will “campaign strongly” for it ahead of the country’s referendum on the issue in May.
“I think it is time to do this”, said Kenny, who also confirmed he will take part in TV and radio debates.
Meanwhile the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, has urged for respectful and open debate “free from insult or injury or hurt to any person”.
The Archbishop said that for the Church marriage is something “very special” and “very unique”, and added: “We believe we have something to say on the issue of marriage and we would like to be able to say it, and to say it freely in the public square”.
“We would like to be able to explain and share what we believe is the good news about marriage.”
Kenny told journalists in a pre-Christmas briefing last month that he had made it clear to Jerry Buttimer, chair of the LGBT group in Fine Gael, “that I will be very happy to campaign for a Yes vote when the referendum is held in the month of May”.
“Fine Gael actually were the first party to deal with civil registration and civil union. We have had that for quite some time here and obviously society has changed and equality of marriage is an issue.”
He added: “I have obviously committed the party and myself to working in favour of the vote and I think it is time to do this so it’s a people’s choice.”
Responding to the 2013 announcement that there would be a referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015, Roman Catholic Bishop Denis Nulty said that, “married love is a unique form of love between a man and a woman which has a special benefit for the whole of society”.