The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) is a non-governmental Irish gay rights group, based in Dublin, Ireland. The organisation was founded in 1988[1] and focuses mainly on legislation and social policy. As of 2008, the Board of Directors comprises: Kieran Rose (co-founder and chair); Ursula Barry; Christopher Robson (co-founder); Maura Molloy; Brian Sheehan; Cathryn Mannion; Will Peters; Eadaoin Ni Chleirigh and Arthur Leahy.

Official opening

On April 3, 2006, An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern performed the official opening of GLEN's new offices in Fumbally Court in Dublin 8. This was a moment of some historical significance as he was the first head of an Irish Government to visit an LGB organisation. The Taoiseach also launched GLEN's five-year strategic plan entitled "Building Sustainable Change" which set out the priorities of the organisation going forward, the main one being the enactment of equality based legislation providing for the legal recognition of same-sex relationships. In a speech to assembled guests, Mr Ahern declared that "Sexual orientation cannot, and must not, be the basis of a second-class citizenship. Our laws have changed, and will continue to change, to reflect this principle."[2]


Under the "Building Sustainable Change" plan, the workload of the organisation expanded and a number of new staff were recruited throughout 2006 - Eoin Collins (Director of Policy Change), Sandra Gowran (Director of Education Policy Change), Adam Long (Communications Officer) and Odhrán Allen (Director of Mental Health Strategy). These staff members joined Ciarán McKinney (Director of Gay HIV Strategies) and Administrator Marie Hamilton. A Director of Community Development Policy, Davin Roche, was appointed in August 2007.

Legal recognition of same-sex relationships

GLEN Director of Policy Change, Eoin Collins, was appointed to a Working Group on Domestic Partnership established by the Government in early 2006.[3] The purpose of the group was to present options regarding the legal recognition of same-sex unions for the Minister for Justice to consider. It was chaired by lawyer and former Progressive Democrats Teachta Dála Anne Colley.

The Colley Report was published in November 2006 and outlined just two options to be considered - the opening up of marriage to lesbian and gay couples, which was stated as the full equality option, or full civil partnership which would provide all the rights and responsibilities of marriage.[4]

In the May 2007 Irish General Election, all of the main political parties committed themselves to legislating in this area if they formed part of the new government.[citation needed]

Following negotiations between Fianna Fáil and The Green Party, the two parties produced a Programme for Government in June 2007. The document contained the following commitment on the legal recognition of same-sex unions:

"This Government is committed to full equality for all in our society. Taking account of the options paper prepared by the Colley Group and the pending Supreme Court case, we will legislate for Civil Partnerships at the earliest possible date in the lifetime of the Government."

GLEN strongly welcomed the commitment to introduce change based on the findings of the Colley Report and looks forward to working with the government to bring about equality for the LGB population in Ireland.


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