HRC Blog

Marching for Marriage Equality in Ireland

Post submitted by Miguel Amador, HRC Global Engagment Intern 

More than 8,000 people took to the streets this past weekend to stand in solidarity with the LGBT community during Ireland’s sixth annual March for Marriage. 

Marchers flooded the streets of Dublin and walked from city hall to the Department of Justice in support of marriage equality.

A substantial number of allies marched alongside LGBT participants amidst a colorful array of banners, signs and attire. Many wore sashes and tiaras to celebrate the newly-crowned Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, who recently opened up about her sexuality.

It was the largest attendance in the annual event’s six-year history. Participation has steadily increased since the first event, with an attendance of around 5,000 people at last year’s March. This year’s march may be the final March for Marriage, with the upcoming referendum on civil marriage for same-sex couples due to take in 2015.

Various groups, including the Catholic IONA Institute, oppose the referendum. The Catholic IONA Institute, a socially conservative Catholic lobby group, commented at last year’s Constitutional Convention that ‘the marriage of a man and a woman is uniquely pro child’ and they argue that it is not discriminatory to give it “unique treatment.” They have also opposed the idea of marriage equality, stating, “The rights of gay people can easily be secured without changing the definition of marriage.” 

March Organizer and LGBT Noise Spokesperson Max Krzyzanowski refuted the Institute's notion, stating “We’re certainly not the pioneers in this, there are other countries that have had marriage equality for approaching 15 years now and nobody's heterosexual marriage has fallen apart in those countries. None of the negative consequences that were feared and worried about have come to pass and we are merely following the path of countries that took the brave decision to go early on this."

However, this anti-marriage equality stance held by Ireland’s Catholic hierarchy is out of step with lay Catholics. A recent opinion poll found that 78% of electorates, many of whom are Catholic, would be in favor of allowing same-sex couples to marry. Around 5% of voters were undecided and 19% opposed reform. 

With such hopeful polls, Gráinne Healy, chairwoman of Ireland's Marriage Equality organization, encouraged marchers to check the electoral register to make sure they and their friends and family are registered to vote. 

HRC is proud to support our brothers and sisters in Ireland in their continued efforts toward full marriage equality. 

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