Ireland moved a step closer to a referendum on gay marriage next year after Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore publicly backed the proposal.

The Labor Party leader also told the Irish Independent that a public vote on same sex weddings could proceed without government backing.

Gilmore made the remarks after reports at the weekend that PM Enda Kenny wants the vote to go ahead with a free vote for members of his party.

The Irish Independent reports that Gilmore’s backing comes as he continues to push a liberal agenda for the Labor Party after the abortion bill.

It says the Government’s own constitutional think-tank voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay marriage earlier this year.

Gilmore has followed Kenny’s lead and aditted it would be possible for the Government to take no position on the referendum.

This will ease the concerns of Fine Gael deputies already reeling from a number of defections on the abortion legislation vote.

Gilmore said: “That is something that might well arise. It’s something we haven’t given a great degree of consideration to. In any event, the Constitution is the people’s property.”

Labor deputies have been ordered to vote in favour of the abortion legislation currently going through the Irish parliament even though many of them are opposed to it.

Gilmore also said a referendum on multiple subjects could possibly be held next year.


Crowds in the streets at Dublin's 2013 Pride Festival. Prime Minister Enda Kenny faces a revolt within his own Fine Gael party over plans to hold a gay marriage referendum.Google Images