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Referendum Friday 8th March – All you need to know

By June 7, 2024June 26th, 2024No Comments

On Friday 8 March 2024, Irish Citizens are being asked to vote on two proposed changes to the Constitution regarding gender and family.

The amendments are referred to as “the Family Amendment” and “the Care Amendment”.

The Family Amendment

This Amendment deals with Article 41.1.1 and Article 41.3.1 of the Constitution and focuses on the definition of the family extending it beyond relationships based on marriage. The constitutional protection would cover both families based on marriage and families founded on “other durable relationships”. The Amendment would delete the following words from the Constitution, “the State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded”.

A “yes” vote

This will put families formed through durable relationships on equal footing with married families, giving them the same constitutional rights and protections.

Leo Varadkar, in favour of a yes vote has said that a yes vote “acknowledges that families may also be founded on lasting relationships other than marriage.”

A “no” vote

This would leave the wording of the constitution as is, and families existing outside of marriage would continue to have no constitutional protection.

The campaigners for a no vote are calling for greater clarity about what constitutes a ‘durable relationship’.

The Care Amendment

This Amendment deals with deleting Article 41.21. and Article 41.2.2 and inserting a new Article proposing the removal of references to the role of women ‘in the home’ from the Constitution. Those references would then be replaced with a broader recognition of the care provided by all family members.

The proposal is to delete the current Article 41.2 which reads, “in particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved. The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.”

If successful, the new Article 42B would read, “the State recognises that the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them, gives to Society a support without which the common good cannot be achieved, and shall strive to support such provision.”

A “yes” vote

This amendment to the Constitution would recognise care provided by family members to each other and would provide that the State would endeavour to support the provision of such care within families.

A “no” vote

If the no vote is successful, the Constitution would continue to recognise the importance of the women within the home and continue to require the State to ensure that mothers should not have to go out to work to the neglect of their “duties in the home”.

Campaigners for a no vote argue that the current constitution appropriately acknowledges the distinct role of women, and the amendment protects the government from its responsibility to provide care.

If you wish to vote in the upcoming referendum, you must vote at the polling station that is named on your polling information card, which will usually be your local polling station.

Please note that the Family Amendment will be on a white coloured ballot paper and the Care Amendment will be on a green ballot paper.

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