Next Steps for the Civil Partnership Bill….
The Civil Partnership Bill has now passed both Houses of the Irish Parliament and goes to the President for signing into Law.
According to Article 25 of the Constitution, the President must sign the Bill “not earlier than the fifth and not later than the seventh day after the date on which the Bill shall have been presented to him”.
Within the 7 days, the President, according to Article 26 of the Constitution, “may, after consultation with the Council of State, refer any Bill to which this Article applies to the Supreme Court for a decision on the question as to whether such Bill or any specified provision or provisions of such Bill is or are repugnant to this Constitution or to any provision thereof.”. If the President does so, the Supreme Court must adjudicate within 60 days.
The last step in the proces is ‘Commencement’ . The Bill contains a provision which says that the Bill, having become Law when signed by the President, does not come into effect until the Minister for Justice signs a ‘Commencement Order’. This is to allow the necessary social welfare and taxation provisions to cater for Civil Partnerships to be implemented in the Social Welfare and Finance Bills that go with the Annual Budget in December. (The Constitution says that ‘Money’ Bills have to be treated differently that other Bills, so tax and social welfare couldn’t be included in the main Civil Partnership Bill). The Government have committed to treat Civil Partners the same as spouses in tax and social welfare.
It is anticipated therefore, that the first Civil Partnerships will occur early in 2011.
Information received from GLEN.