It’s one year to the day since the people of Ireland voted in overwhelming numbers to make marriage possible for all couples, regardless of gender. We hope that this joy will soon be available for couples in other countries too.
This day, Sunday 22nd May, 2016, one year ago, the people of Ireland voted in overwhelming numbers to allow all couples, regardless of gender, to marry. This was the first time in the world that an entire country cast a positive public vote to open up civil marriage to lesbian and gay couples. Many of those who campaigned for a ‘Yes’ vote gathered today at the iconic Dublin Castle Upper Yard to mark the first anniversary.
Among those gathered was Gráinne Healy, a co-director of YesEquality and Chair of Marriage Equality, who stated:
“It is a great joy to see the marriages that have taken place all around Ireland, with couples supported by their families, friends and communities in celebrating their love. 412 couples have already married since November last year. Hundreds more couples had their foreign marriages automatically recognised.”
“We are delighted to share this day with those that helped and supported Yes Equality and look forward to many more happy days out for couples who can share in our joy” she added.
“This day last year was an overwhelming and exhilarating mixture of happiness, elation and generosity shared by all communities across every part of Ireland. It showed the world that Irish people are open, welcoming and supportive of their gay and lesbian family members and friends and wanted to share the happiness of marriage with them”
added Kieran Rose, co-chair of GLEN – the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network and a co-founder of Yes Equality.
“There are still many obstacles to overcome on the path to true equality but offering marriage to all has clearly established fairness, equal opportunity and real happiness for same sex couples in Ireland. To come on such a long journey in such a short space of time is something all Irish people can be truly proud of ”
Mark Kelly, Executive Director of the ICCL and a co-founder of Yes Equality concluded:
“This is a day to celebrate how far Ireland has come on its equality journey. In supporting marriage equality in a popular vote, Ireland led the world. However, as the UN Human Rights Council has very recently reminded us, in the areas of women’s rights, the rights of people with disabilities, the recognition of ethnic minorities, and rights to health and housing, Ireland still lags far behind its European neighbours. The ICCL trusts that the progressive spirit that guided the Irish people to vote for marriage equality in such huge numbers will also be evident when, in the near future, further necessary reforms in our law are considered by the Oireachtas and put to the people”.
Yes Equality was the civil society organisation that led the ‘Yes’ campaign in the marriage referendum in 2015. It was co-founded by three organisations that had long campaigned for equality for same sex couples – GLEN – the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Marriage Equality and the ICCL – The Irish Council for Civil Liberties.