Ironic isn't it. After decades of strife between the Republic of Ireland (RoI) and the UK over that part of the island of Ireland which we in the UK call 'Northern Ireland' and those who wish this part of the UK to be re-united politically with the RoI call the 'north of Ireland' some Irish citizens have found something they like about 'the north'. The fact that civil unions are now available throughout the UK to same sex couples has apparently attracted upto 100 such couples upto the north to tie the knot, even though such unions are not currently recognised in the RoI. However, the UK version of civil unions does grant all the important rights (tax, inheritance, pension rights, etc) as well as the obligations that apply to heterosexual married couples. Note for US readers - I understand this is different in the case of the US where those States that grant civil union or marriage rights to same sex couples can only ensure their validity within State law as the Defense of Marriage Act stymies recognition of these statutes in other States, which renders them highly second-rate in the practical rights conferred.
This week the Irish Department of Justice will receive a report from a working group set up to look into recognising civil unions in the RoI and it is being reported that a positive recommendation is likely, perhaps helped by the fact that five such unions have been conducted since August by the British Embassy in Dublin involving at least one British citizen in each couple.
Note: The sly pun in the title of this post is quite deliberate - just my little joke.