Ireland Expected to Recognize Gay Unions

I lived in Dublin, Ireland for my junior year abroad. It was an amazing experience. I studied and lived inside the walls of Trinity College, in the heart of the city.

The country was experiencing rapid transformations as it grew closer to the European Union, the economy grew, and for the first time more people began to move into Ireland rather than the other way around. It had only been a few years since divorce was legalized and people stopped having to drive to Northern Ireland for birth control.

I volunteered for a gay community center and served as a volunteer facilitator for an LGBT youth group--the only active one in the entire country at the time. While the country was becoming more accepting, many people I knew still suffered severely from being forced to hide who they were. There were young people who took a bus from as many as three hours away just to find community and be themselves at our Sunday meetings.

But it wasn't all sad by any means. I made some amazing friendships with strong, courageous people--many friendships I still have today.

All of this is a long preface to say it was with particular excitement to read that Ireland's Taoiseach (aka Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern is vowing to legalize civil partnerships for Irish gay and lesbian couples. Ahern said, "Sexual orientation cannot, and must not, be the basis of second-class citizenship."

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