Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinion but we must vote if we want that opinion to count. Everyone will be given the option to vote Yes or No. It’s always good to talk about things, so make it a topic of conversation no matter what you’re voting. You might learn something new, change someone else’s mind or be the reason the vote goes the way it will. You have the power - now use it!!
I personally will be voting YES. I believe only complete equality is fair. Can you imagine being in a room with lots of other people and you were all given a choice of drink? Everyone (including you) said they wanted a can of Coke, yet when drinks were given out, only you were given Pepsi. Imagine that feeling for a second. Someone else thinks you don’t deserve what everyone else has!!! That is just hurtful and rude.
When you find the courage to speak up and say you want Coke like everyone else, you’re told “Ah will you sit down, sure Pepsi is practically the same as coke. Stop complaining and just be happy with what you have”. This is what I’ve been hearing again and again from some No voters. Everyone knows it’s not the same!!! A civil partnership is not the same as marriage. That’s what we have to change. I’d love to know what would happen, if every couple who are happily married now were told that their marriage will only register as a civil partnership from now on. Then told it’s nothing to get worked up about because it’s practically the same thing.
Photograph taken by Brenda Mc Callion on Dunmoran Strand.
I don’t understand why people happy in their own marriage, would care what anyone else does in theirs. I’m not saying people who vote No are homophobic, narrow minded or afraid of change. All I’m saying is what sort of person doesn’t want others to be happy?
Four generations voting YES with nothing but love and support in mind.
Here are a few words from some of the good people who have been canvassing for the YES vote around Sligo recently.
“This referendum is of significant importance to reflect Irish society's acceptance of the equal rights of all Irish citizens.
At a recent debate I heard a comment that we should "strive for the ideal"- meaning man/woman marriage with children. I totally agree that as a society we should strive for the ideal. However I do not agree that I am any less ideal than any other woman or that my relationship with my life partner is any less ideal than any other life partner relationships. We love each other unconditionally, we are totally committed to spending the rest of our lives together through good times and bad, we love and support those who are close to us and we participate in and support our local community.
We should have exactly the same civil rights as any other citizen of this country which includes constitutional protection of our commitment to each other and of our family home. I trust in my fellow community members to exercise their right to vote and to support equal rights for all citizens by voting YES on May 22nd.”
"My cousin has 2 mums and she is the most well balanced, bright and happy 6 year old I know. Let’s make a 6 year old even happier.... by voting YES.”
Eimear Gleeson, 14 years old.
“As an Irish republican, equality is at the core of what I believe in. The proclamation of 1916 espouses ‘equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens’. To me that is fundamental and an affirmation that we want all our citizens to be free, equal and happy. I would urge people, especially our younger citizens to use their vote for a positive result.”
“For me, a YES vote in a no brainer. As a mother of three, I ask my kids to treat people with respect, all people. I feel blessed to have been born in a time, as a white heterosexual woman who came into this world in an “unmarried mothers” home, who at a stage in my life was a single parent, is not prejudiced against. This wouldn’t have always been the case for me. In time I chose to say I do to spending the rest of my life with a man I love. I CHOSE, nobody else chose for me. I feel strongly that all the citizens of Ireland should be able to make the same choice for themselves. It is sad in a way that same sex couples have to ask everyone to vote and decide for them if they have the same constitutional rights to marry as their peers. But my hope is that when this referendum is passed that same sex couples in Ireland will know at last that they are all truly accepted as they should be, that we love them and their relationships as they are, and that future generations of LGBT children will not know the pain and hurt of those generations in the past.
With less than a week to go, talk to everyone, ask them to do the right thing and get out and VOTE YES on May 22nd.”
“For me a vote for Yes is so important because it is a strong message to all the people in Ireland that our country finally treats us equally. It is very unusual to be asking for people to vote for my equality. There seems to be a lot of attempts to confuse the issue and this is very unfair and concerning. This vote is simply about affording me the right to a civil marriage to my partner who is a woman. This vote has nothing to do with marriage which is administered under different religions.
I am a mother, my partner is a woman. We are together and sharing beautiful love and a home in Sligo for 14 years. After the 22nd of May we will still be partners, we will still be parents, and we will continue to love, protect and cherish our children regardless of the outcome. However, a YES vote gives us equal recognition under our constitution. Our role and responsibilities as parents to our children are already recognised in recent Irish law. However, for us as a family and for me as an Irish Citizen it would be wonderful to know that we lived in a society that treats us equally.
Even more important for me is that it gives a message of support, love and acceptance to people who are gay. It will help relief the effects of oppression and exclusion that has resulted in extreme pain, suffering and loss for thousands of people in our country.
Living in beautiful West Sligo we are surrounded by an amazing community of people from all persuasions and interests who have consistently shown us respect and love and who value our contribution to the local community. What we really hope is that the people of Sligo will come out to give an overwhelming vote for Yes to Equality and Fairness. It is so important that people who want this, make every effort to get to the polling station and cast their vote for Yes on Friday May 22nd.”
It irks me to think we have to even fight for this. As a nation Ireland has been under the repressive influences of foreign powers and the church for years. We have to have learned something about showing compassion for victims of injustice and inequality. Whichever way you plan on voting please think about how this referendum really affects you. Then think about the happiness this could bring to so many people’s lives.
Your vote does make a difference. If you feel at all passionate about this please do get out and let your voice be heard.
(For anyone thinking of voting no, please remember the referendum date has been postponed until further notice).
Written by Niamh Marron.