Mayor of South Dublin County Fintan Warfield was speaking this morning at the launch of the party’s LGBT rights document, ‘Equality, Diversity, Solidarity: Fighting with Pride for LGBT Rights in Ireland’.
Taking part in the Press Conference was Cllr Emma Murphy; Gerry Adams TD and the party’s Justice and Equality spokesperson Pádraig MacLochlainn TD.
Fintan Warfield said:
“Sinn Fein’s starting point on all issues of human and civil rights, and equality is the 1916 Proclamation. While it may be nearly 100 years old, for us it is a republican mission statement.
“It is our firm belief that all citizens are entitled to full equality before the law, regardless of their background, including sexual orientation or gender. Nothing less can be tolerated in a modern, progressive and inclusive society.
“Our document Equality, Diversity, Solidarity – Fighting with PRIDE for LGBT rights in Ireland catalogues the significant strides made over recent times in Ireland, north and south, in tackling political, societal and legal obstacles and discrimination facing LGBT citizens.
“Importantly, the document also sets out in clear terms the key challenges to advancing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens.
“It also states the actions required to eliminate discrimination and harassment, which many LGBT people experience in aspects of their daily lives.
“For our part, Sinn Féin has positively embraced these challenges in a practical way through campaigning and activism. The party remains firmly committed to working in solidarity to activate public and political support north and south.
“In the Constitutional Convention delegates delivered a decisive vote of 79% in favour of amending the constitution to provide for marriage equality. The three Sinn Féin delegates voted in favour of amending the Constitution to include a positive obligation on the State to give effect to a guarantee of marriage equality and to the equal rights of the children of these marriages.
“Sinn Féin welcomes the announcement by the Irish Government that it will hold a Referendum on Marriage Equality in 2015. However, it is imperative that an exact date is announced quickly.”
“Sinn Féin has had a formal policy on promoting LGBT equality for almost two decades, and an official presence at LGBT Pride events for many years, in addition to the legislative and other initiatives detailed. We are also committed to ensure that the party itself is a welcome place for LGBT republicans.
“To this end, we have appointed an LGBT officer to work together with other interested activists to further develop party policy, raise internal awareness of and publicly campaign on issues affecting the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families.”
SINN FÉÍN’S 10 KEY PROPOSALS FOR LGBT EQUALITY
1. Eliminate legalised homophobic and transphobic discrimination against LGBT education and healthcare workers in the 26 Counties, by amending Section 37 of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011.
2. Amend the 1937 Constitution to include express equality protections for LGBT citizens and equal treatment for all family forms.
3. Set a date for a constitutional referendum on same-sex marriage.
4. Include express equality protections for LGBT citizens and prohibitions on homophobic and transphobic discrimination in the forthcoming Bill of Rights for the north.
5. Progress the northern Sexual Orientation Strategy, including legislation to provide for same-sex civil marriage.
6. Legislate north and south for equal treatment of prospective LGBT parents in reproductive and adoptive services, and in related social and other public services. Ensure the law treats all children equally regardless of family status or the sexual orientation or gender identity of their parents.
7. Introduce into criminal law a provision that makes committing an offence with a homophobic or transphobic motivation or aim an aggravating circumstance allowing for a more severe penalty.
8. Update the incitement to hatred laws to address the use of the internet and social media to promote homophobic and transphobic messages.
9. Legislate for mandatory rules to combat homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools.
10.Introduce gender recognition legislation in the 26 Counties, to enable transgender citizens to acquire a birth certificate appropriate to their gender identity.