It’s time to change Article 41.3 of the Constitution.

One Family believes in an Ireland where every family is cherished equally, and enjoys the social, financial and legal equality to create their own positive future.  For 50 years, we have campaigned for the Constitution to be expanded to give rights and protection to all family forms; currently, the Constitution only recognises the married family.  We believe following the Mother and Baby Home Commission Report and the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality it is time to give all families in Ireland protection under the Constitution.

Why now and why it matters:

  • Following the publication of the Mother and Baby Home Commission Report which detailed the horrific abuse, incarceration and stigmatisation of “unmarried mothers”, there is a unique opportunity to let unmarried families know they are respected and included in our society.
  • The recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality to “Amend article 41 so that it would protect private and family life, with the protection afforded to the family not limited to the marital family” provide a clear pathway for our political representatives to deliver greater gender equality and constitutional protection for all non-marital families.
  • The Constitution is currently out of step with the reality of family life in Ireland as well as with our social policy, practice and legislation. Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights provides possible alternative wording in a review of the family. This would permit legislation and case law to determine how different families and family members would be treated and impediments to equality would be removed rather than automatic equality being guaranteed. This could potentially have benefits for many households and family arrangements.
  • Census statistics and Growing Up in Ireland data show us the rich diversity of family life in Ireland today.  One in three children in Ireland are born to parents not yet married to each other; one‐in‐three families do not conform to the traditional model of a married couple in their first marriage; and one in five children live in one-parent families.

UN International Day of Families – a call to action

On UN International Day of Families, Sunday May 15, we are calling for change to Article  41.3 of the Constitution on the definition of the family.

How you can help?

The Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality is currently considering the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on Gender Equality. We are hopeful that the Committee will recommend a Constitutional referendum to change all of article 41 including article 3 on the definition of the family.  We are asking you to sign-up and join us in a Constitutional Referendum campaign by sharing your family’s story, supporting us and the campaign on social media, contacting your local TDs and advocating for a Yes vote. To sign up click:  here.

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Background resources