Yes Equality launches new same-sex marriage posters

Referendum ‘not about some theoretical notion of equality, it’s about real Irish people’

Gay and Lesbian people asking for a Yes vote on Grafton Street, Dublin. From left: David Caron, Dublin; Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Mullingar; Celeste Roche, Dublin; and John Curran and Sarah Gilligan, both  Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Gay and Lesbian people asking for a Yes vote on Grafton Street, Dublin. From left: David Caron, Dublin; Sandra Irwin-Gowran, Mullingar; Celeste Roche, Dublin; and John Curran and Sarah Gilligan, both Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The Yes Equality campaign has launched a new series of campaign posters which they say feature the “real lesbian and gay citizens of Ireland” from all walks of life.

David Caron, who features on one of the posters, says next week’s referendum is about “inclusivity and acceptance”.

“Although it’s about marriage, I’ve no particular plan to get married in the near future.

“For me it’s much more about tolerance and acceptance and how Irish people view their LGBT neighbours.”

Mr Caron spoke of the joy he’s felt watching the referendum campaign mobilise 40,000 young people to register to vote and encourage middle-aged and elderly high-profile public figures such as Ursula Halligan and Pat Carey to speak openly about their sexual orientation.

Social activism

He says the Yes campaign has “ignited a sense of social activism in people, both LGBT and straight, who never thought it was in them”, and “made people think about, reflect on, argue, defend an issue that may not be central to their own lives”.

Mr Caron said he believes some of the tactics employed by the No campaign have created a “climate of fear and confusion”.

“I hope to see an end to some of the unpleasantness that I would have observed in the No posters, which I feel doesn’t really reflect people who are voting No.”

“I think visibility is so important, even something as small and potentially insignificant as wearing a badge or putting a sign in your front window - it makes a statement to everybody you encounter that you are supporting the Yes side.”

Sarah Gilligan, who also features on the new Yes campaign posters, says the time has come for people to realise that all human beings - both gay and straight - are all the same.

“It’s important to show that I’m just the same as everybody else and I guess it’s about integrating into the community.

“I’m seen as not the same as everybody else and I’m over it.”

Gráinne Healy, co-chair of the Yes campaign, says the new posters are a reminder to Irish voters that the referendum on May 22nd is about real people.

“This referendum is not about some theoretical notion of equality. It’s about real Irish people and these are real Irish lesbian and gay people, some of whom are nephews, uncles, teachers, friends, others might be sisters, your neighbour, people from all walks of life.”

‘Jumping to conclusions’

Asked to respond to calls from the No side to withdraw comments made by Dr Maureen Gaffney in a speech made on Thursday for the Yes campaign, Ms Healy said No campaigners were “jumping to conclusions”.

“She said I’m not making a direct comparison and then she went on to make her remarks,” said Ms Healy referring to Dr Gaffney’s speech.

“The point she was making was that any society historically which has decided not to allow a set of people get married have been shown to be societies which are deeply unequal and which are discriminating against people they don’t allow marry.

“She spoke about the southern states of America and that idea of groups of people who historically have not been allowed to enter marriage, are groups of people who have been discriminated against. That’s the analogy she was making.”