President Mary McAleese may consult the Council of State on whether or not to refer the Civil Partnership Bill to the Supreme Court, according to a report in The Sunday Business Post.
The same report also says that the first civil unions will probably not take place until next year because the Department of Finance needs to include changes in the tax code in the Finance Bill for the 2011 tax year.
In her 13 years as president, Mrs McAleese has consulted the Council of State four times but only one piece of legislation has been referred to the Supreme Court in order to test its constitutionality.
In contrast, Mary Robinson referred 12 pieces of legislation to the Supreme Court during her six years as president.
Concerns that the Civil Partnership Bill may be unconstitutional have been raised on two grounds. The first is that the form of civil partnership it creates for same-sex couples is too close to marriage and therefore it undermines the special position of the married family.
The second is that in not sufficiently recognising freedom of conscience and religion it violates Article 44 of the Constitution.