Ireland to Vote on Removing Blasphemy as an Offense

Ireland will hold a referendum later this year to remove the offense of blasphemy from its constitution.

Charlie Flanagan, minister for justice and equality announced Tuesday that the referendum will likely be held in October at the same time as the presidential election.

The Irish constitution says, “The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent matter is an offense which shall be punishable in accordance with law.”

The move is part of the government’s plan to overhaul the constitution of the most socially conservative country in Europe. It pairs with the referendum last month that overturned Ireland’s ban on abortion.

“In terms of Ireland’s international reputation, this is an important step,” Flanagan said in a press release on Tuesday.

“By removing this provision from our constitution, we can send a strong message to the world that laws against blasphemy do not reflect Irish values and that we do not believe such laws should exist.”

Progressive lawmakers in Ireland are also eyeing a controversial reference in the constitution to a “woman’s life within the home.”

The Irish Times reports lawmakers would also like to hold a vote on changing the constitutional phrasing that prioritizes women’s role in the home over the workplace.

It is not clear if that referendum will be held at the same time as the one on blasphemy.

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