‘Every vote key’ to marriage equality

Disability rights campaigner and 'Irish Examiner' columnist Joanne O'Riordan and Kilkenny goalkeeper Eoin Murphy.

A campaign has been launched encouraging people to register for their vote ahead of next year’s referendum on civil marriage equality.

The campaign, launched in UCC yesterday, is a joint venture between the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and Marriage Equality.

The initiative encourages people to tell their friends and families about the importance of being registered and aims to raise awareness of the November 25 deadline to sign up to the 2015 Register of Electors.

Anyone seeking to register to vote after that date will need a form stamped by a garda.

Launching the campaign, UCC student Joanne O’Riordan, a disability rights campaigner, stressed the importance of being registered — noting that the outcome could depend on votes from the younger generation.

She said: “Younger voters in this referendum have the chance to make a real difference. This voter registration campaign is a critical first step in getting the vote out. We cannot afford to miss a vote.”

All-star Kilkenny hurling goalkeeper Eoin Murphy also spoke at the launch about creating a “fairer Ireland for all”.

He said: “Next year, we will have an important referendum on civil marriage equality. We want to make sure that no one misses the opportunity to have their voice heard on polling day.”

The referendum to legalise same-sex marriage is expected to take place in May 2015, although the Government has yet to set a date.

Tiernan Brady from Yes Equality described the referendum as a “once-in-a-generation moment”.

“Decisions are made by people who turn up to vote,” he said. “We encourage everybody to make their voice heard.”

Many on the Yes side believe a recently formed group called Mothers and Fathers Matter will lead the No campaign.

The group’s website states their opposition to the Children and Family Relationships Bill, calling it “unjust”. Its advisory board includes a founder of conservative think-tank the Iona Institute, David Quinn.

The Yes Equality campaign runs until the registration deadline, in collaboration with local equality organisations across the country as well as the Union of Students in Ireland, students’ unions, and trade unions.

See yesequality.ie or facebook.com/yesequality


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