BREAKING: Date set for Zappone and Gilligan appeal hearing
You heard it here first: The Irish Supreme Court could give its ruling on marriage equality before the end of the summer.
The Court has scheduled a hearing date for the appeal by Senator Katherine Zappone and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan. The case is due to be heard on 19th June next at 11 o’clock.
The appeal is to challenge the decision of the High Court which ruled against the couple’s claim that their marriage under Canadian law should be recognised in Ireland by the Revenue Commissioners.
It will not be possible for either side to present any new evidence to the Supreme Court – such as longitudinal studies carried out since the 2006 ruling of children raised by same-sex couples, even though the question of the effects of same-sex parenting on children was one of the points raised by Judge Elizabeth Dunne in that case.
It will, however, be possible to refer to legal developments since the lower court’s ruling – such as the court decisions in the United States (e.g. Perry v Schwarzenegger) decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in (e.g. Schalk and Kopf v Austria, where that court accepted that a cohabiting same-sex couple constitutes “family life” under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights).
Last October, Drs Zappone and Gilligan had asked the Supreme Court to allow a challenge to Section 2(2) of the Civil Registration Act 2004 be formally included as part of their appeal. The legislation states that it is an impediment to marriage if both parties are of the same sex. The Court refused the request because arguments relating to that legislation had never been formally included in the original trial hearing, nor properly considered by the High Court judge in her ruling.
The appeal hearing in June is expected to last for two days. Lawyers are also due to attend the Court on 7th June for a procedural hearing.