How D4 Has Become Ireland's Gay Capital; Get Me to the British Embassy on Time, Say 20 Gay and Lesbian Couples Who've 'Wed' There

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Byline: Ailbhe Jordan

WHILE the battle to legalise civil partnership rages on in the Dail, Irish gay couples have found an unlikely venue in which to seal their commitment to each other - the British Embassy in Dublin.

With civil partnership between same sex couples legal in Britain since 2005, Irish members of the LGBT community have seized the opportunity to marry partners who already hold or can obtain British citizenship in the Embassy.

The most high profile partnership has been that of 26-year-old Niamh O'Gorman, from Terenure, and her British partner Jessica Webbley, 30, who became the poster couple for gay marriage after sealing their vows earlier this year at the Embassy. There have been 20 civil partnership ceremonies, six female couples and 14 male couples, since May 2006, when the Embassy began facilitating the ceremony.

Although one member of the couple must be a British citizen for the marriage to take place - there has been speculation that it may provide a loop-hole for Irish couples to apply for citizenship in order to get married. Irish people with dual British-Irish citizenship or those entitled to British citizenship could make use of such a loophole.

People of a certain vintage may also be able to claim British citizenship, especially if they were born before December 31, 1948, the year Ireland officially became a republic under the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. 'Once somebody has British citizenship and they meet the requirements set out by the UK border agency, they are entitled to a civil partnership,' a spokesperson from the British Embassy said. …