2015’s referendum has made marriage possible for thousands of gay and lesbian people but it’s unlikely that there will be a surge of same-sex marriages in Clare in 2016.
Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan said, “I think there’s certainly going to be an uptake but I would say it’s something that’s going to build slowly. So far, our experience is that a lot of people are seeking small intimate venues, unusual venues as well.”
Mr Vaughan added, “I have colleagues who have gone into the market, not so much in Clare yet, but I know it’s something that will certainly add to the business of hotels. Personally speaking, I don’t think it’ll be a huge boom immediately; colleagues haven’t noticed that as yet.”
Kilrush man Brian Sheehan, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), said there are reasons why there won’t be lots of gay couples marrying immediately.
“We know that about 2,000 couples have had civil partnerships since they came in, in 2011. I think over time many of those will convert their civil partnership into a marriage. I think many of them would have been involved in the campaign and will do that. But lesbian and gay couples, no more than other couples, treat marriage very seriously and with great reverence. What people are doing is planning their marriage carefully.”
He says many of those who have taken up civil partnerships want to marry on the same date.
“Many people are waiting until the anniversary of their civil partnership, to get married on the same date. Across the year, I think we’ll see a lot of couples who will get married and celebrate marriage. Some will be public and some will be private in the sense they’ve already had a very wonderful civil partnership ceremony with their family and friends and they won’t be repeating the big expensive number but will have a smaller event,” he said.
By Owen Ryan