(Blogmensgo, gay blog of December 9, 2015) On December 2, 2015, the Lower House of the Irish parliament (Dáil Éirann) unanimously repealed any homophobic discrimination in employment based on religious grounds.
This amendment of the Employment Equality Act still needs to be ratified by the head of state. The Upper House (Seanad Éireann) has already voted for the amendment.
Dismissal based on homosexuality is now prohibited
The amendment concerns section 37 of the Employment Equality Act, which had granted specific religious, educational and medical institutions exemptions in terms of gay rights, allowing them to lay off gay or lesbian employees.
As it seems, this amendment only concerns state-funded institutions for now.
The new legal situation allows LGBT persons to keep their employment once their homosexuality is known or if they marry a same-sex partner. Before, most gays and lesbians were hiding their sexual orientation for fear of losing their jobs.
„I am very proud of this bill“, said Aodhán Ó Ríordáin. More LGBT-friendly reforms are to follow, the Minister of State for Equality promised.
Sandra Irwin-Gowran, responsible for educational policy at the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen), welcomed this decision but requests “more progress for transsexuals and persons without religious affiliation in privately-owned institutions.
2015, a very gay-friendly year in Ireland
This year, Ireland has already put into effect three important laws for gay rights.
Since April, same-sex couples may adopt children.
At a referendum on May 22, 62% of the participants voted were for same-sex marriage. The Irish parliament confirmed this result almost unanimously on October 22, and the respective bill was ratified with immediate effect on November 16 (see our article).
Since September 2015, the Gender Recognition Act allows any person to have their gender changed in official documents without presenting a medical certificate.