The government also today announced the exact wording that people will vote on in the May referendum: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
The announcement in relation to adoption by gay couples comes following the first televised debate earlier this week on the same-sex marriage referendum during which potential pitfalls on the issue of gay adoption were revealed.
Actor Colin Farrell had pre-recorded an interview with host Claire Byrne in which he spoke passionately about his support for equal rights and how growing up with a gay brother and seeing him be at "the tail end of the whip of intolerance" left an indelible impression on him.
Whereas existing laws state that only married couples or sole applicants can seek to adopt a child, proposed changes would extend the right to adopt to same-sex partners. The reform will be part of the Children and Family Relationships Bill, the general scheme of which was published early last year, with a revised version published last September by current minister for justice Frances Fitzgerald (right).
The bill on same-sex marriage - along with a bill dealing with another referendum on reducing the age at which an individual can contest the presidential election from 35 to 21 - is expected to be published shortly and to be debated by both Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming weeks.
Earlier today we reported that the Union of Students in Ireland has launched the Vote For Love campaign in support of same-sex marriage. Watch the campaign video, AFTER THE JUMP...
In December, the Bishop of Elphin Kevin Doran (above) released a manifesto outlining the reasons behind the Catholic Church's continuing war against equal rights for gay people.
Last weekend, Ireland's health minister Leo Varadkar announced that he is gay. Earlier today, Labour politician Dominic Hannigan announced that he married his partner of 20 years Chris, in London on New Year's Eve.