Legal Evolution of Same-Sex Marriage in Ireland

Agnieszka Targońska


The legalization of same-sex relationships has always been a controversial subject. Ireland is a good example of such a case, which decided to legalize same-sex marriages following a referendum held in 2015. Conclusions which stem from the Irish experience in this matter can provide valuable lessons for those countries that have not yet legalized one-sex marriages. The subject of this article is an analysis of the path that Ireland has undertaken to legalize same-sex marriages and an indication of current Irish regulations concerning these marriages. The aim is to discuss legal evolution of the institution of same-sex marriages in Ireland and its consequences for the constitutional order and social perception of the Irish citizens. Due to the fact that there is a lack of complex legal research of this subject in Poland, this article constitutes a gap-filling study. The article has a scientific and research character and may constitute a contribution to further legal considerations on the issue of same-sex marriages in the EU states.


same-sex relationships; referendum; same-sex marriages

Full Text:




Elkink J.A., Farrell D.M., Reidy T., Suiter J., Understanding the 2015 Marriage Referendum in Ireland: Context, Campaign, and Conservative Ireland, “Irish Political Studies” 2016, vol. 32(3), DOI:

Harding M., Marriage equality: A seismic shift for family law in Ireland, [in:] International Survey of Family Law, ed. B. Atkin, New York 2016.

Kużelewska E., Same-Sex Marriage – A Happy End Story? The Effectiveness of Referendum on Same-Sex Marriage in Europe, “Białostockie Studia Prawnicze” 2019, vol. 24(1), DOI:

Kużelewska E., Michalczuk-Wlizło M., Same-sex marriage and the catholic church in Europe: Any chance for understanding?, “Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric” 2021, vol. 66(79), DOI:

Mazurkiewicz P., Czy grozi nam scenariusz irlandzki?, “Pastores” 2020, vol. 87(2).

McGowan D., Governed by Marriage Law: An Irish Genealogy, “Social & Legal Studies” 2016, vol. 25(3), DOI:

Murphy Y., The Marriage Equality Referendum 2015, “Irish Political Studies” 2016, vol. 31(2), DOI:

O’Sullivan A., Same-Sex Marriage and the Irish Constitution, “International Journal of Human Rights” 2009, vol. 13(2–3), DOI:

Rachwał M., Referendum on abortion in Poland: Submitted proposals and main topics of the debate, “Białostockie Studia Prawnicze” 2019, vol. 24(1), DOI:

Szukalski P., Rejestrowane związki osób tej samej płci we współczesnej Europie, “Dysfunkcje Rodziny. Roczniki Socjologii Rodziny” 2011, vol. 21.

Zappone K., In pursuit of marriage equality in Ireland: A narrative and theoretical reflection, “The Equal Rights Review” 2013, vol. 10.


Central Statistics Office, Census of Population 2016 – Profile 8 Irish Travellers, Ethnicity and Religion, (access: 16.3.2021).

Citizens Information, Judicial separation, (access: 30.03.2021).

Citizens Information, Nullity of marriage, (access: 30.03.2021).

Elkink J., Farrell D., Suiter J., Reidy T., Young people voted in droves for marriage equality in Ireland. Equality would have won without them, 30.1.2015, (access: 16.3.2021).

European Commission, Eurobarometer on Discrimination 2019: The social acceptance of LGBTI people in the EU, 23.9.2019, (access: 16.3.2021).

Festy P., Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Couples in Europe, (access: 16.3.2021).

Healy G., Sheehan B., Whelan N., How the Yes was won: the inside story of the marriage referendum, 6.11.2015, (access: 16.3.2021).

Human Rights Campaign, Marriage Equality Around the World, (access: 14.4.2021).

Ryan F., Ireland’s Marriage Referendum: A Constitutional Perspective, 2015, (access: 14.4.2021).

The High Court [2004 No. 19616 P.], Between Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan Plaintiffs and Revenue Commissioners, Ireland and the Attorney General Defendants and the Human Rights Commission Notice Party, (access: 16.3.2021).

Your Europe, Help and advice for EU nationals and their family, (access: 16.3.2021).


Constitution of Ireland with the Marriage Equality amendment.

Civil Registration Act 2004.

Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010.

Constitution of Ireland.

Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms signed on 4 November 1950 in Rome.

Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885.

Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 and entered into force on 23 March 1976.

Marriage Act 2015.

Offences against the Person Act 1861.


Foy v Ant Ard Chlaratheoir (2002).

Griffith v Griffith (1940).

Murray v Ireland (1985).

Norris v Ireland (1988), application no. 10581/83.

Zappone & Gilligan v Revenue Commissioners & Ors (2004, No. 19616 P.).

Data publikacji: 2022-06-22 09:37:31
Data złożenia artykułu: 2021-04-15 19:18:57


Total abstract view - 495
Downloads (from 2020-06-17) - PDF - 0



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Agnieszka Targońska

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.