Dear all,

Today’s is a dissapointing decision indeed for Katherine and Ann Louise.

For anyone who wishes to read the full judgement, it is now online at kalcase.org (.doc file for download – 138 pages; 327 KB)

Recognising Diversity: Celebrating Marriage for All

LANDMARK CASE FOR SAME SEX MARRIAGE OPENS TODAY

3rd October, 2006

High Court has an opportunity to be ambitious and to make the Irish Constitution relevant and responsive to the real and lived marriages of same-sex couples – Ailbhe Smyth

The High Court will hear arguments today in the case being taken by Drs Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan (KAL Case) against the Revenue Commissioners and the State for recognition of their legal Canadian marriage in Ireland.

Senior Counsel for the plaintiffs, Michael Collins, will present the opening address before Judge Elizabeth Dunne. He will set out that the couple are asking for equality and fairness and to be treated the same as other married couples in Ireland.

Drs Zappone and Gilligan will seek various remedies before the High Court. In particular, they will seek a declaration that in failing to recognise their Canadian marriage, and in failing to apply the tax law provisions relating to married couples to them as a married couple, the State and the Revenue Commissioners have acted unlawfully, in breach of their constitutional rights to equality, to marriage, to property rights and family rights and in breach of their rights to privacy, marriage and non-discrimination under the European Convention on Human Rights.

“This case is fundamentally about rights and equality,” said Ailbhe Smyth, Chair of the National Lesbian and Gay Federation and KAL Advocacy Initiative supporter. “When our laws deny the equal rights of all individuals to make life-long commitments of intimacy and dependency that are actually recognised and supported by law, they discriminate and exclude.”

“We are hoping that The High Court takes the opportunity to be ambitious and to make the Irish Constitution relevant and responsive to the real and lived marriages of same-sex couples,” she said.

She also called upon members of Dáil Eireann to introduce legislation which will allow all citizens of Ireland to enter into a civil marriage if they choose to, stressing that legislators have the power to short-cut the judicial process.

“As representatives of all citizens of Ireland you have an opportunity to introduce legislation which fully commits Ireland to equality for all. Critically, we are asking you to act now – not in the next Dáil term, not after the votes for the next election are safe, not after the judiciary has considered the matter,” she said.

The KAL Case arose after Dr Zappone, a public policy research consultant, and Dr Gilligan, an academic, married in Vancouver on September 13th, 2003.

On July 1st, 2004, the Revenue refused the couple’s claim for the same allowances as a married couple under the Taxes Consolidation Acts. The Revenue argued that married couples related only to “a husband” and “a wife”, and that the Oxford English dictionary defined these as a married man and a married woman.

In the 1937 Constitution, the heterosexual marital family is the only officially recognised family structure under Irish law. In recent years, however, there has been enormous change in family structures in Ireland. In particular, the numbers of those co-habiting have doubled, from 4% of all family units in 1996 (31,300) to 8% in 2002(77,600). While still small in relative terms, the number of same sex cohabiting couples has also increased considerably from 150 in 1996 to 1,300 in 2002.

The number of children living with co-habiting parents rather than married parents has increased significantly from 23,000 children in 1996 to 51,700 children in 2002. The percentage of births outside marriage now stands at just over 31%, that is, almost one-third of births, compared with just over one-quarter (25.3%) in 1996.

The case is expected to run for three weeks.

KAL Initiative
c/o Tower 1, Fumbally Court, Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8
kalcoord@gmail.ie www.kalcase.org


Tuesday, 3rd October

outside Dáil Éireann

at 1.45pm

_________

If you’ve been living under a rock.. Well, you may still know that the Zappone & Gilligan case is due to go ahead next week!

To coincide with the first day of the case hearing in the High Court, a gathering of support will take place on Tuesday, 3rd October outside Dáil Éireann at 1.45pm.

The gathering is being held to show support for the recognition of diversity in relationships and families in Ireland. Katherine and Ann Louise are taking their case against the Revenue Commissioners and Ireland to the courts; this gathering is intended to show the political leaders in the Irish houses of parliament the public’s support for legislative change to recognise all relationships and family forms which exist in Ireland today.

Participants are invited to bring along a flower of their choice, to symbolise hope, love and diversity. It is intended, then, that these flowers be gathered to form a bouquet to be presented to party leaders in Dáil Éireann.

Above all else – All are welcome to attend this gathering!

:: Check www.kalcase.org for any further info,
or contact kalcoord [at] gmail [dot] com ::

BEFORE MR JUSTICE DONOVAN
IN COURT NO 14
AT 11 O’CLOCK

FOR MENTION
39 ZAPPONE & ANOR -V- REVENUE COMMISSIONERS & ORS 2004 19616P

At around 11.45am, Ms Bacik spoke for the applicants; Mr Clarke was present for the respondents.

Ms Bacik indicated to the court that all seemed to be in order, save for a matter relating to sending a letter for discovery. She sought adjournment for three weeks to allow this letter to be sent. Mr Clarke was in agreement.

Mr Justice Donovan granted the adjournment until 24th July 2006.

[Related post: KAL Case Updates: “For mention” today (3rd July, 2006).]

The case appears before the courts briefly this morning, for a “For Mention” hearing. This will probably entail an update, more or less, for the court from each side to the proceedings.

Here is the info:

Legal Diary for 3rd July, 2006 [.doc file] (Also: Non-Jury List for 3rd July, 2006 available in HTML here).

NON JURY MOTION LIST
BEFORE MR JUSTICE DONOVAN
IN COURT NO 14
AT 11 O’CLOCK

FOR MENTION
39 ZAPPONE & ANOR -V- REVENUE COMMISSIONERS & ORS 2004 19616P

Court Services of Ireland website: www.courts.ie