Lesbians, wed in Canada, want Ireland to recognize marriage

Lesbian couple, married in Canada, can ask to have their marriage legally recognized in Ireland.

An Irish judge ruled Tuesday that a lesbian couple who got married in Canada can formally ask to have their marriage legally recognized in Ireland.

Justice Liam McKechnie of the High Court – Ireland's second-highest – said Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone have a strong enough case to deserve a full hearing.

The two were married in British Columbia in September of last year.

They are the first homosexual couple to seek legal status in Ireland for a foreign marriage.

The two want the Revenue Commissioners – Ireland's tax agency – to let them file their tax returns as a couple, rather than individually, a move that would allow them to pay less.

Tuesday's ruling simply lets the couple's case go forward. It does not guarantee that they will be successful.

Homosexuality was outlawed in Ireland until 1993.

The Netherlands and Belgium allow same-sex marriages, while several other European countries give homosexual couples inheritance, tax and child-rearing rights similar to those of married couples.