Cllr. Gillian Wharton-Slattery’s motion was passed last night by Kerry County Council with 18 councillors voting in favour, 7 against, 1 absent and 1 abstaining. It’s great news that Kerry County Council voted in favour of this motion, and fair play to Cllr. Wharton-Slattery for tabling it, but bit disappointing that about a quarter of council voted against. The vote makes makes Kerry County Council the 14th local authority to pass a motion of support for same-sex marriage (so, er, I clearly miscounted in my last article – apologies to the people of Clonmel Borough).
Kerry don’t usually allow Cork to get ahead of them on anything, so it’s suprising that so many other local authorities followed Cork’s lead before this vote, but good to see Kerry get on board. The vote was enthusiastically welcomed by Ciarrai Amach and Marriage Equality yesterday. It’s not all rosy though, there is some suggestion that Cllr. Wharton-Slattery came under some pressure to withdraw the motion before the vote, or to ‘water it down’. But to be honest, in politics you should expect a fight on virtually any issue so whether that constitutes ‘emotional bullying’ or if there is more to that than meets the eye remains to be seen.
If you associate local authorities with bin collection and pot holes it might seem a bit incongruous that a growing number are setting aside the time to air their opinions on same sex marriage. With the Constitutional Convention not far ahead, and the possibility that it will resolve the question of whether we need a referendum on marriage to allow same-sex couples access to the institution, having an established base of support not just in the Dail and Seanad but also in local authority means that there should be enough documented support for the issue that it can’t be easily shoved aside or stalled on. Hopefully.
Anyway, nicely done Kerry!