Shedding the Past

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Irish people will vote next year to expurgate sexism from the country’s 1937 constitution, a referendum aimed at modernizing Ireland’s conservative Roman Catholic charter, Politico reported.

On Tuesday, the government announced two proposed amendments to the constitutional section on family values, including the role of women in Irish society.

Ireland’s constitution originally declared that women should not be expected “to engage in labor to the neglect of their duties in the home.” But the new amendment will replace the clause with a state commitment to value the work of all family carers.

Meanwhile, the second amendment will broaden the definition of the family in Ireland to include all households “with durable relationships” – a change that also seeks to recognize unmarried couples with children born out of wedlock.

The two votes are set for March 8, which is also International Women’s Day.

The initiative marks the latest changes to the country’s constitution and another move away from the influence of the Roman Catholic Church when it was first drafted, according to Euronews.

In 1973, Ireland removed its declaration of “the special position of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church.”

In 2015, the country made history by amending its charter to allow gay marriage, and three years later legalized abortion and removed “blasphemy” as a crime.

Irish officials welcomed the proposed changes, saying they “reflect the reality that many more diverse models of families make up our society today.”

Even so, the government chose not to introduce a new “gender equality” provision, fearing it might turn a straightforward campaign into a contentious debate on transgender rights.

According to Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the ruling coalition concluded that the constitution already includes “an all-encompassing commitment to equality,” and further elaboration is unnecessary.

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