A bill that would recognize the civil partnerships of same-sex couples
passed the Dail, the lower house of parliament in Ireland. It now moves
to the upper chamber for ratification.
According to The Irish Times, the bill, which falls shorting of granting full marriage rights, was not without controversy, including objections from Catholic bishops.
"All parties in the Oireachtas formally supported the legislation, although individual TDs and Senators have expressed criticism," reported the Times.
"A number of amendments were made during the committee stages of the Bill including an increase in the period of cohabitation required to qualify for certain rights included in the legislation. The legislation is not expected to become law until the autumn."
Justice minister Dermot Ahern praised the bill, according to the Times.
"Our society has change substantially in recent decades,'' he said. "While marriage is more popular than ever, other forms of relationships have become increasingly common; they create some difficulties in the legal system and require in our law a measure of recognition and of protection.''