Fine Gael delegates at last month’s Ard Fheis have voted in support for a motion, put forward by Mark O’Meara of Young Fine Gael, that the upcoming Constitutional Convention should prioritise an analysis of the proposals for same-sex marriage in Ireland. The Constitutional Convention was one of the tenets of the Fine Gael 2011 election campaign; promising to examine articles of the constitution covering the institutions of the state - principally the Executive, the Dáil, the Presidency and the Judiciary.
The success of Young Fine Gael cleavage in promoting the motion is a victory in itself, illustrating a possible liberalizing stance within the Party. During the 2011 election campaign Fine Gael’s election manifesto mentioned civil partnership only in terms of amending tax law in accordance with the 2010 Civil Partnership Act. Fine Gael’s support for prioritising same-sex constitutional proposals is the first illustration of willingness on the part of a political party to elevate civil partnership to the status to that of marriage. In January a report by academics and polling company Red C revealed that 73% of the public surveyed supported the inclusion of same-sex marriage in the constitution. The report had been commissioned by the government in the wake of the referendum defeat on Oireachtas Inquiries in November.