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    by BalconyTV

    BALCONYTV DUBLIN 27/06/2009
    The city centre of Dublin was filled with colour, noise, music whistles and chants this afternoon as thousands marched in this year's gay pride march.

    The parade was led by UCD academic Ailbhe Smyth and filled the whole length of O'Connell Street before ending at Dublin council city offices for music and speeches.

    "Pride and Prejudice" was the main theme with many dressed in wedding gowns and tuxes. Crowds chanted: "What do we want? Marriage. When do we want it? Now." Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan marched in the dresses they wore for their Canadian wedding in 2003.

    Organisers of the march estimate that 12,000 took part in the event, although other estimates put the figure lower than that.

    The parade follows the publication of the Civil Partnership Bill by the Government yesterday that will give statutory partnership rights to gay and lesbian couples.

    Some 60 people dressed in a half tux or wedding dress. Organised by Marriage Equality and Noise the move was to symbolise the "half measures" offered in the Bill.

    Groups came from all over Ireland to take part including LGBT organisations from Kerry and Galway. Members of gay rugby and football teams marched alongside the gay and lesbian choir, and gay sections of Siptu, Into and Labour.

    The Civil Partnership Bill giving statutory rights to gay and lesbian couples will be enacted and operational by the end of the year, the Government said yesterday.

    It will allow same-sex couples to register their civil partnership and allow them to enjoy the same statutory protection as married couples across a wide range of areas. However, it stops short of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

    The rights and obligations include the protection of a shared home, pension rights, the right to succession and equality with married couples of treatment under the tax and social welfare codes.


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