Katherine Zappone

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Katherine Zappone
Assumed office
May 2011
Constituency Nominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Born (1953-11-25) 25 November 1953 (age 60)
Washington, United States
Nationality Irish
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Ann Louise Gilligan
Alma mater Boston College,
The Catholic University of America,
University College Dublin

Katherine Zappone (born 25 November 1953) is a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission and an independent member of Seanad Éireann.[1]

Zappone was born in Washington state,[2] and educated at Boston College (PhD), The Catholic University of America (MA) and University College Dublin (MBA). She and her wife, Ann Louise Gilligan, run An Cosán which supports individuals and communities to actively engage in the process of social change through transformative education. She is a former CEO of the National Women's Council of Ireland.

In November 2004, Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan (K & AL) were granted leave by the High Court to pursue a claim to have their September 2003 Canadian marriage recognised for the filing of joint tax returns in Ireland.[3] On 23 February 2007 the "KAL" case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Ireland.[4] The case came before the Supreme Court in 2012, although returned to the High Court to challenge a different element of law.[5]

In May 2011, she was nominated by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the 24th Seanad,[6] having been recommended by the Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore.[7][8]

She is the first openly lesbian member of the Oireachtas and the first member in a recognised same-sex relationship.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dr. Katherine Zappone". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Ann and Katherine say it loud". Irish Independent. 19 October 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Launch of the Gilligan/Zappone tax case". RTÉ News. 9 November 2004. 
  4. ^ "Lesbian couple take case to Supreme Court". RTÉ News. 23 February 2007. 
  5. ^ "Fresh Marriage Equality Challenge for High Court". Marriage Equality. 6 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Edwards, Elaine (20 May 2011). "McAleese appointed to Seanad". The Irish Times. 
  7. ^ "Gilmore announces Seanad nominee recommendations". Labour.ie. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Katherine Zappone". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 

External links[edit]