Government to face challenge to marriage referendum result

Two legal challenges to the outcome of Ireland’s marriage equality referendum will be heard by the Court of Appeal at the end of July.

Both cases were dismissed by High Court President Nicholas Kearns earlier this month, but an appeal hearing has been set for 30 July, two weeks after the Dáil rises on 18 July.

The late date of the appeal has derailed the Government of Ireland’s plans to publish the same-sex marriage legislation before the start of the national parliament’s Summer recess.

One government minister told the Irish Times that the news was “devastating” and “could potentially drag out until after the general election”.

The newspaper reports that the proposed same-sex marriage legislation could be considered in mid-September at the earliest, but the delay could result in the first same-sex marriages in Ireland being conducted in 2016.

One of the two challenges has been brought by lay litigant Gerry Walshe, an electrician from Co Clare who said that the presence of CCTV cameras at polling stations compromised the secrecy of last month’s ballot.

He also said the state unfairly gave financial assistance to the Yes campaign.

The decision taken by the Court of Appeal could potentially also be appealed in the Supreme Court.

Kieran Rose, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), told the Irish Times: “We are most concerned that these appeals are frustrating the overwhelming will of the people as expressed in the referendum.

“We do not want to see justice delayed for those lesbian and gay couples waiting to marry.

“The 1.2 million people who voted yes will be disappointed that the implementation of their decision continues to be delayed.”

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