Thousands march in Dublin for marriage equality

LGBT Noise group calls on Government to set referendum date during 5th annual rights event

The 5th annual marriage equality march campaigning for equal rights for same sex couples photographed outside the Department of Justice, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

The 5th annual marriage equality march campaigning for equal rights for same sex couples photographed outside the Department of Justice, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Sun, Aug 18, 2013, 22:17

Up to 4,000 people marched in Dublin today for the right to marry.

The 5th annual march for marriage equality was organised by the advocacy organisation LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Noise.

Max Krzyzanowski of LGBT Noise called on the Government to set a date for a referendum on same sex marriage.

Though civil partnership legislation was enacted two years ago, legislation to allow for full marriage rights for same-sex couples would require a referendum.

Opinion polls indicate such a referendum would be passed and in April this year the constitutional convention voted by 79 per cent to recommend that the Constitution be so amended.

The overwhelmingly young protesters - the vast majority were in their twenties - moved off from City Hall at about 3pm, making their way down Dame Street, around College Green to Nassau Street, up past Leinster House on Kildare Street before walking around St Stephen’s Green towards the Department of Justice, where speakers pumped out the Candi Staton’s hit You Got The Love.

Along the way they chanted, “One, two, three, four, we’re not waiting any more. A, B, C, D, we demand equality.”

They carried rainbow flags, and placards with such slogans as ‘Keep Calm and Marry On’, ‘Fan Socair agus Pós Do Ghrá Geal’, ‘ Does My Equality Threaten You?’, ‘I want a two-tier cake, not a two-tier system’ and, ‘I want to be miserable too’.

Among those there was Sinéad Hodgins (22) a psychology student at Trinity College.

“I’m here because it’s just a disgrace that gay people are treated like second class citizens.”

Greg O’Donoghue (23), welfare officer at the National College of Ireland said he was there as the Union of Students in Ireland is “fully backing the campaign for gay rights”.

Anna McCarthy, also of LGBT Noise, addressed the crowd saying the march had a second purpose this year, of demonstrating solidarity with LGBT people in Russia in the wake of the enactment of anti-homosexual legislation there.

She invited people to sign a petition calling on Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to raise the situation in Russia at EU and UN level in coming months.

Vladimir Dotsenko from Russia and working in Ireland, spoke about the repression of gay rights in his home country, describing the “silence” of Irish politicians on the issue as “disturbing”.

Emer Costello, MEP, was in the crowd and told The Irish Times she would be seeking a date for a referendum on same-sex marriage when she attends the Labour party “think-in” in Enfield, Co Kildare on September 16th.