Parade calls for same-sex marriage
Thousands of people marched through Dublin’s city centre this afternoon in a noisy and colourful demonstration calling for the introduction of same-sex marriage.
The fourth “March for Marriage”, organised by gay rights group LGBT Noise, was aimed at highlighting discrimination affecting same-sex partners and their children.
The colourful parade which snaked its way through the city centre included samba bands, giant rainbow banners and thousands of multi-coloured cards with the word “equality”.
Among the placards held aloft by various groups were “First class taxpayer, second class citizen”, “Jesus had two dads - and he turned out fine!” and “Trans rights are human rights”.
The march from Dublin City Hall to the Department of Justice on St Stephen’s Green stopped briefly outside Leinster House, where campaigners produced a cardboard cut-out of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and called on the Fine Gael leader to publicly support marriage equality.
The Government has announced that gay marriage will be dealt with through the constitutional convention process, which is due to begin later this year.
However, Anna McCarthy of LGBT Noise told marchers that it will take at least a year and a half before this process is completed.
“Marriage equality could be legislated for tomorrow, if there was the political will to do so,” she said, to cheers from the crowd.
“A number of eminent lawyers have publicly stated that a referendum is not necessary. Nowhere in our Constitution is marriage defined as being between a man and a woman,” she said.
Another LGBT Noise campaigner, Max Krzyzanowski, told the marchers that civil partnership was not the same as marriage, yet opinion polls showed the vast majority of people supported same-sex marriage.
“The current discrimination affecting children of LGBT parents is of particular concern, and it leaves families vulnerable and segregated under the law.”
He said under civil partnership legislation, LGBT parents are denied the right to make medical and educational decisions for their children, and may even lose access to their children in the event of
the death of a partner.
The march drew an estimated 6,000 supporters, with hundreds from colleges and universities, as well as gay and lesbian equality groups.
“I’m here because I’d like to be able to get married some day without having to fight for it,” Raz Richard Sheridan, 18, from Dublin, who was present with his mother.
Ruth Illingworth, Fine Gael deputy leader of Mullingar town council, said she believed the majority of the party was in favour of same-sex marriage.
“I believe the taoiseach, minister for justice and others are moving towards the idea of full marriage equality, and it’s only a matter of when it happens,” said Ms Illingworth, who says she was the first
openly gay council leader, when she came out three years ago.
Two friends in their early 20s, Louise Walker from Wicklow and Cathal O’Gara, described marriage equality as the “key civil rights issue of our time.”
“Marriage equality matters. This isn’t just a title - it’s about the exclusion of gay people from the family unit,” Ms Walker said. “There are about 169 differences between civil partnership and marriage, such as adoption.”