The Government has announced plans to hold two constitutional referendums to amend article 41 of the Constitution next year.
Both votes will take place on International Women’s Day, 8 March.
The first referendum will be on a proposed amendment to article 41.1 that will broaden the protection offered to the family to include families other than those based on marriage.
The second vote will be on a proposal to repeal article 41.2, which includes a reference to women ‘in the home’, and insert a new article 42B to provide recognition for care within families.
‘Other durable relationships’
Making the announcement, Roderic O'Gorman (Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) said that "a woman's place is wherever she wants it to be".
If the first referendum is passed, article 41.1.1 would provide that the State recognises the family, “whether founded on marriage or founded on other durable relationships”, as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of society.
If the second proposal is approved, 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.”
The details of the changes are included in the general scheme of two bills published today (5 December).
Both referendums follow a report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality, which backed recommendations made by the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality on the issue.