Maybe some day, some one will be able to articulate what it meant to be part of a YES Equality canvass team in the Marriage Equality referendum? Some have said it was the best experience of their lives, that it lifted them out of hopelessness about political change, that it gave them back a sense of pride in their true identity. Others who voted NO are saying they had no idea how much a YES vote would mean, and now wish in retrospect that they had voted differently….
Some day we might figure out how it happened that the people of Ireland in 2015, mobilised and voted to enshrine equal marriage in our constitution? Where young people from all over the world came home to vote, where Grandparents spoke in favour of something which for their generation had been unheard of. Where we all wept one minute and grinned our ears off the next and couldn’t believe in the goodness of some people or then in the downright meanness of others.
What swung it? How did the likes of us, end up here, marching in this Pride Parade in Dublin with 50-60,000 others? At those early meetings, I wondered how we could possibly pull this off and how devastating it would be if the country voted No?
Only a few weeks later…..it seemed as if the world had changed…..
For Framework it was always about creating safety, belonging, love. We were asking for something so positive, a YES. We were asking Ireland to grow up, to embrace diversity, and citizenship. And in keeping with our own work of 20 years it was also about progressing equality which would impact on everyone.
Looking back I now see that while it’s a step in the right direction it needs to be the beginning of lots more positive change. Having been involved in this work most of my life, I have no illusions that getting here took a long, long commitment by some absolute legends who dedicated their lives to it. There are still other areas of inequality which remain shamefully and blatantly off the agenda of the powers that be, in spite of similar commitment over years. Finding the key to the next steps will be a challenge for us all.
All of you played your own part; the activists from the LGBT community, those who walked side by side with them, and everyone who went out to vote YES, you were all a part of it. Today along with other campaign teams from across the country, we celebrated #Pride and the privilege of being part of an amazing community and a life changing event in our history.
We in Framework are committed to continuing to raise awareness and to supporting full equality for LGBT people even more than ever!
(First published by Catherine Drea on www.foxglovelane.com)