Fianna Fáil has officially launched its campaign for a Yes vote in the forthcoming referendum on marriage.
Party Leader Micheál Martin said today that a yes vote in the referendum on May 22nd would be “an important reaffirmation of the positive role of marriage in our society.”
Fianna Fáil is running a nationwide campaign which includes canvassing, public meetings, posters, leaflet drops and a strong online campaign.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Dublin today Deputy Martin commented: “We believe that extending the right to marry to same sex couples is a basic matter of fairness. It is a further step forward in the task of building a republic which recognises and supports the rights of all of its citizens.
“I am very proud that the decriminalisation of homosexuality, banning of hate speech against homosexuals, equal status protection, employment equality rights and finally civil partnerships for same sex couples were all enacted by Fianna Fáil ministers. As a society these changes have strengthened us. By the recognising and vindicating the rights of people of different sexual orientations every group has benefitted.
“The challenge in a democratic republic is to understand that you must always be open to change. You can never reach a moment where you say that our laws and attitudes must now be frozen in time. You also must never sit back and be satisfied with the rights you hold if they are denied to others.”
Fianna Fáil Director of Elections and Spokesperson on Justice & Equality Niall Collins said: “In conjunction with our official campaign we are also rolling out a strong social media campaign which people can follow through #amoment4marriage. This campaign will feature short videos of members of the public and prominent public figures advocating why a yes vote is important to them.
“I want to thank Margaret Gill, Emma Murphy and former Minister Pat Carey who took time today to share their personal stories and to explain, for very different reasons, why they are all advocating a yes vote in the referendum,” said Deputy Collins.
Fianna Fáil’s Deputy Director of Elections and Seanad Spokesperson on Education Averil Power spoke of the importance of a strong yes vote for young LGBT people. “Despite all the progress we have made in recent decades, many gay and lesbian teenagers still struggle to come to terms with their sexuality. They are scared of being rejected by their families. They are worried about being treated differently by society. And they are afraid they won’t have the same opportunities in life as their straight siblings and friends, including the opportunity to settle down some day and marry the person they love. As a result, many hide who they really are and suffer in silence for years. On May 22nd the Irish people have a great opportunity to send a message of love and solidarity to each and every one of these young people by voting YES to marriage equality. Let’s show them they are part of a society that genuinely accepts them and offers them the same chance of happiness in life as everyone else.”