THE first same-sex marriages in the Irish Republic took place last week. Three male couples were married in different parts of the country, to be followed shortly by another nine couples who have given notice of their intent to the General Registrar’s Office.
For one couple, Dolores Murphy, from Cork, and Mabel Stoop Murphy, from South Africa, however, whose ceremony was due to take place on the first day of the new dispensation, an administrative hitch meant that they had to wait.
They had dissolved their civil partnership in the morning, and went straight to Cork Registry Office for the wedding ceremony, only to discover that the “declaration of impediment” form that they had just signed should have been submitted five days before the impending ceremony, and so their wedding could not go ahead until the appropriate time had elapsed.
Ms Murphy said afterwards that they were “devastated” by the news. “We are absolutely heartbroken. This was supposed to be the best day of our lives. And, as usual, the government has let us down again. It is beyond ridiculous”, she said.
Under the new laws, same-sex couples who have undergone civil partnerships can remain in such an arrangement, or have the partnerships dissolved and proceed to full marriage.
It is estimated that there have been about 2000 same-sex civil partnerships in the State since enabling legislation was passed in 2011.