The Irish civil partnership bill has been signed into law by President Mary McAleese meaning there are now gay civil partnerships in Ireland as well as Britain.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern described the Act as
“one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation to be enacted since independence” and “the epitome of a Christian and pluralist society.”
The gay civil partnerships bill was supported by all parties in the Dail, although individual politicians have criticised the legislation. It is expected to become law in the autumn, 17 years after homosexuality was fully decriminalised in the Irish Republic.
The new legislation lays out fines of up to €2,000 and/or up to a six month jail term for those who flout it.