This morning the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese (left) signed the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 (text as passed by the Oireachtas) into law. Once commenced, the Act will introduce civil partnerships that are to be available to same-sex couples only as well as an opt-out system of cohabitant protection and obligations. There remain a number of difficult questions around the Act including whether it institutionalises inequality between same-sex and opposite-sex families, whether the cohabitation provisions are an undue interference on privacy etc… many of which will be addressed here on HRinI in a blog carnival we intend to host next week. For today, however, the focus is more appropriately on congratulating all those whose hard work is reflected in the Act, in spite of its imperfections. It is to be hoped that it will be commenced as soon as possible.