Post submitted by Ashley Fowler, former HRC Global Coordinator

In this week’s edition of Sunday World, Colin Farrell wrote a call to action urging Ireland to vote for next year’s referendum on civil marriage equality. 

Should the bill pass, Ireland would be the first country to pass nationwide marriage equality by popular vote. 

His appeal was quite personal, drawing on the experiences of his brother, Eamon Farrell. 

In the article, Farrell said he realized early on that his brother was gay, but not once did his brother’s sexuality seem odd or unnatural to him. He went on to say that the fact that his brother had to leave Ireland in order to have a legally recognized wedding was “insane.” 

The upcoming referendum, which will come to a vote in 2015, will determine whether same-sex couples are afforded the same civil marriage rights as heterosexual couples. Civil marriage differs from religious marriage in that it is less about ceremony and more about special recognition and protections that are guaranteed in the Constitution of Ireland for those wed in legal civil marriages. While civil partnerships for same-sex couples currently exist in Ireland, only marriage rights can establish full constitutional equality. The Irish organization, Marriage Equality, has identified over 160 statutory differences between civil partnerships and civil marriage. 

For Farrell, this referendum is "about inclusion. It’s about fairness." It is an opportunity "to wake up to the conviction that true love from the heart of one being to another cares not for the colour, nor the creed, nor the gender of who it chooses to share that path with."

LGBT and other human rights organizations in Ireland have joined together to create the Yes Equality campaign. The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to register to vote and to ensure that their voices are heard.

As Tiernan Brady of the Yes Equality campaign stated earlier this month, “The upcoming referendum on equal access to civil marriage is a once-in-a-generation moment. Whilst the polls are very positive we cannot afford to be complacent. Decisions are made by people who turn up to vote. We encourage everybody to make their voice heard and change Ireland for the better by registering to vote.”

There are currently nineteen countries, certain jurisdictions in Mexico, and 33 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, with marriage equality on the books.

Filed under: International

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