Irish sports stars have lined out in favour of the marriage equality yes campaign, saying a change in the law will tell young fans: “It’s OK to be who you are.”
Cork hurling legend Donal Óg Cusack, Munster and Ireland rugby star Peter O’Mahony, Olympics hurdler Derval O’Rourke, and Mayo GAA All Star Aidan O’Shea revealed their views on the referendum at a Yes Equality Cork launch yesterday.
At the Triskel Arts Centre, former Cork hurling captain and current Gaelic Players Association chairman Mr Cusack, who received widespread praise after coming out in 2009, said “Ireland needs a result” on the issue.
“I came up in a time through secondary school when it was illegal to be gay,” said Mr Cusack.
“Things have changed, but I always keep this image in my head of a young sportsperson growing up gay, and I think what a wonderful message it sends to say ‘it’s OK to be who you are’.”
The comment was backed by O’Mahony, O’Rourke, and O’Shea, who told the crowd at the launch that they will vote yes on May 22.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Equality Minister Aodhan Ó Riordáin attended a Doctors for Marriage Equality yes vote launch involving the Irish College of General Practitioners, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), and the Impact trade union.
While supporting the unions’ stance, Mr Varadkar declined to comment on the ongoing row between the Garda Representatives Association (GRA) and the Garda Commissioner over similar public support for a yes vote from the GRA.
When asked about hate mail received by RTÉ presenter Brendan Courtney over his support for marriage equality, Mr Varadkar said his is “usually about Irish Water” and any related to the referendum has been confined to “a few people offering prayers for my soul”.
He added that he has received “a couple of invitations” to same-sex weddings should the referendum pass, “but no proposals”.
Just got hate mail - a NO campaigner thinks it's ok to post anonymous HATE! I am a VERY PROUD FAGGOT! U coward! pic.twitter.com/nO1LTgSJbO— Brendan Courtney (@BrendanCourtney) May 5, 2015
RELATED: No campaign’s posters under scrutiny
Meanwhile, no campaign group Mothers and Fathers Matter is expected to contact garda superintendents this week to make complaints about posters being taken down in their areas.
A spokesperson said the dossier is being split into regions before complaints are made.
A No-Campaign launch by StandUp4Marriage will take place at the Alexander Hotel in Dublin tomorrow.
Organisers say their campaign theme is ‘why it’s OK to vote no’.
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