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First Openly Gay Candidates Elected to Irish Government

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Mar 3, 2011
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The Irish Parliament is set to welcome into its ranks the first two new members to be elected as openly gay candidates, IrishCentral.com reported on March 3.

The two new parliamentarians, Dominic Hannigan and John Lyons, are both with Ireland’s Labor Party. They will officially take their places in the Dáil Éireann, or Irish Parliament, next week, when the 31st Dáil convenes following the following recent general election. Their elections reflect a growing acceptance of gays in the country; Hannigan’s constituency is rural, but his sexuality did not bother voters, the article noted.

"History was also made in the election of not one but two openly gay" parliamentarians, said Labor LGBT co-chair Paul McConnell. "The election of both Dominic Hannigan and John Lyons as [members] for the Labor Party is a step forward for equality in Ireland and we look forward to their contributions in the Dáil."

The precedent of openly gay candidates being elected to the Dáil was set following openly gay candidates being elected to the Irish Senate. An openly gay senator, David Norris, is favored to become the new Irish president when the country’s current leader, Mary McAleese, finishes her term.

Marriage equality may not be far behind, noted the article: The National Lesbian & Gay Federation has begun a campaign to convince both chambers of the government’s legislative branch to work toward full legal parity for gay and lesbian families.

"Fine Gael and the Labor Party have a duty to legislate for equal civil marriage rights for lesbian and gay people," said Ailbhe Smyth, the leader of the NLGF. "Discriminating against lesbian and gay people in this regard is not acceptable."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

Comments

  • Bob Soukup, 2011-03-05 12:25:40

    The acceptance of all people of different race, creed, origin, and gender have taken a long road to being accepted for their intellegence, character, moral and spiritual theologies of life. A persons attraction to members of the same gender, different religious beliefs, race, and origin should not be a basis for judgement and discrimination from holding political offices. I commend Ireland for proceeding beyond and embracing the challange of acceptance of all humankind and setting an example of justice, compassion, and human worthiness. Bob Soukup


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