Irish president signs same-sex marriage amendment

Irish President Michael Higgins on Saturday officially signed an amendment to his country’s constitution that extends marriage rights to same-sex couples in his country.Higgins amended the Irish Constitution roughly three months after Ireland became the first country in the world in which same-sex couples received marriage rights through a popular vote. The Irish Times reported Prime Minister Edna Kenny’s government next month will introduce a bill that would allow the amendment to officially take effect.

“We are all delighted,” Tiernan Brady of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, an Irish advocacy group, told the Washington Blade on Saturday in a statement. “This is a historic moment for LGBT people and everyone in Ireland. After the joyful scenes that followed the resounding yes vote last May it is wonderful that President Higgins has signed the act and made the result official.”

“We look forward to Parliament passing the necessary enabling legislation to allow the first civil marriages for lesbian and gay people to take place as soon as it returns,” added Brady. “As a nation, all of us can now look forward to the civil marriages that so many lesbian and gay people, their family members and friends have long awaited.”

Same-sex couples are able to legally marry in the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Iceland, Scotland, England, Wales, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, South Africa, New Zealand, Mexico City and several Mexican states, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Australian Parliamentarian Warren Entsch earlier this month introduced a bill that would allow same-sex couples to legally marry in his country. Colombia’s highest court late last month held a hearing on the extension of marriage rights to gays and lesbians in the South American nation.

Irish lawmakers in July approved a bill that will allow transgender people to legally change their gender without medical intervention.