The Path To Marriage Equality In Ireland – A Case Study

The Path to Marriage Equality In Ireland: A Case Study  – Susan Parker December 2017

Charitable foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies (AP), commissioned a case study from Susan Parker on the passing of marriage equality in Ireland, to partner a study performed on the passing of legislation for civil partnerships.

It had invested more than €63 million advancing human rights in Ireland, including LGBT rights, from 2004 to 2012, and it supported both GLEN and Marriage Equality, both of whose efforts had led to the passing of the 2010 civil partnership law here, and eventually equal marriage legislation in 2015. However, AP did not contribute to the marriage equality campaign itself. 

The study outlines the background, the strategy employed, the challenges faced, and the lessons learned in the campaign, and according to the study, it could act as a template for getting other minority rights established.

The study states:

“Persuading an electorate to vote to provide rights for a minority is never an easy task. That is particularly true in traditionally conservative countries. But the overwhelming passage of Ireland’s May 2015 referendum that provides marriage equality for same-sex couples shows that it can be done.

Perhaps just as important, the lessons from that referendum campaign can inform other advocates who are working to ensure rights for minority groups, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people (LGBT) or others.

The story of how Ireland became the first country to vote for marriage equality by popular vote is one in which two competing LGBT organizations had to dig deep to overcome long-standing rancor, where unexpected allies provided crucial counsel, and where advocates got a surprising boost from a little-used approach to citizen participation”.

You can access the full case study at:



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