Civil Partnership Bill Second Stage This Evening

The second stage debate on the Civil Partnership Bill takes place this evening starting from 6.45 pm. We have already blogged about the bill herehere and here. Maman Poulet has been providing excellent coverage of the politics around the Bill here. Of particular interest is discussion of the addition of a so-called ‘religious freedom optout‘ to the bill. Padraig has blogged on that issue here. Maman Poulet carries details of a liveblog of the debate, which is hosted here and will kick off at around 6.30 pm. You can join in on twitter, where the hashtag is #cpbill. And, as Suzy says ‘if you just want to watch the debate without the wit, banter and outrage of the viewing masses then you can watch it here.

  1. Gavinicus
    December 3, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Has anyone given any consideration to the legality of such an individual “religious exemption” in what will be a State service, in terms of EU anti-discrimination legislation and the ECHR.

    Organisational is somewhat acceptable under both, but individual excmption would seem more problematic.

    Any views?

  2. Tomboktu
    December 4, 2009 at 10:33 pm


    At the moment, as far as I know, there is no religious exemption in EU law outside employment.

    A directive on discrimination in the provision of goods and services services is being negotiated at the Council. If passed, it would cover both the religion ground and the sexual orientation ground. Interesting, too, I think that the UK has recently been given a reasoned opinion by the Commission arguing that its transposition into UK domestic law of the employment discrimination directive as it applies to sexual orientation contains overly “generous” [my wording] exemptions for religious bodies.

    And not quite on your question, but I think the current Equal Status Acts contain an organisational-individual problem opposite to the one you ask about. If an organisation looks to book a venue and is reused because it is “a gay organisation”, then the organisation cannot take a case under the ESA. This was raised during the Oireachtas debates in either the 1996 Bill or the 1999 Bill, but the Minister of the day said this wasn’t a problem because an individual in the organisation could take the case. Don’t know enough about companies and locus standi of them versus individual directors to know if that would work, but even if it did, I thought it was an unsatisfactory approach.

  3. Gavinicus
    December 5, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Thanks Tom,

    Seems, now, to be a non issue anyway as the Minister indicated no such amendment would be introduced. He indicated, and I paraphrase, that “there are enough protections AGAINST equality law” and went on to say that such an amendment would be “bad law”.

  1. December 3, 2009 at 9:20 am

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