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Irish Journalist Pens Heartbreaking Coming Out Story In Plea For Marriage Equality: VIDEO

Halligan

Writing in the Irish Times today, broadcaster and journalist Ursula Halligan has said that next week’s referendum on same-sex marriage has encouraged her to be open about her sexuality, reports The Journal.

Yes-Vote-May-2015In an opinion piece published today, Halligan - who came out to her family in the last few days - writes about her experience growing up as a gay woman in Ireland.

She also encourages people to vote Yes because it would “say to gay people that they belong, that it’s safe to surface and live fully human, loving lives.”

She quotes from her diary, written as a 17-year-old in 1977:

“These past few months must have been the darkest and gloomiest I have ever experienced in my entire life. There have been times when I have even thought about death, of escaping from this world, of sleeping untouched by no-one forever. I have been so depressed, so sad and so confused.”

She goes on to describe a sense of loss because she hasn’t experienced the same social approval as her siblings:

“For me, there was no first kiss; no engagement party; no wedding. And up until a short time ago no hope of any of these things. Now, at the age of 54, in a (hopefully) different Ireland, I wish I had broken out of my prison cell a long time ago. I feel a sense of loss and sadness for precious time spent wasted in fear and isolation.”

 

She concludes:

“If Ireland votes Yes, it will be about much more than marriage. It will end institutional homophobia. It will say to gay people that they belong, that it’s safe to surface and live fully human, loving lives. If it’s true that 10 per cent of any population are gay, then there could be 400,000 gay people out there; many of them still living in emotional prisons. Any of them could be your son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father or best friend. Set them free. Allow them live full lives.”

Watch BeLonG To Youth Service's marriage equality ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Irish Teachers Worried They'll Have To Teach 4-Year-Olds About Gay Sex if Marriage Referendum Passes: VIDEO

Teachers for no

A new Irish group called Teachers For No (TFN), which includes teachers, parents and academics, has come together fight next week’s same-sex marriage referendum, reports the Journal.

The group - which it has been claimed is (another) front for Catholic right wing activist group the Iona Institute, claims that the proposed constitutional amendment will have “serious consequences” for their profession because they may have to explain the notion that two men or two women can love each other.

Group spokesperson, Kevin Leavy - an esteemed member of Catholic Comment - said:

“As teachers, our fear is that for example, a teacher who gives preferential treatment to a view of marriage as between a man and woman over a same sex marriage will be seen to be discriminating".

TFN and Iona Institute member Dr John Murray once more brought up the ridiculous notion that those on the No side are being silenced while receiving nationwide online, broadcast and print media coverage at the group’s launch.  The same “silenced” No side last year successfully settled out of court after Rory O’Neill suggested on national broadcaster RTE that they might be homophobic.

Murray said teachers are afraid to say they’re against marriage equality as they believe it will make them stand out as “not being not in favor of inclusion or to be in someway homophobic”.

He also voiced his fear that “starting with four or five-year-olds, teachers could be expected to be explaining the meaning of ‘lesbian’, ‘gay’, ‘bisexual’, ‘transgender’ and so on” and if the referendum passes teachers will be pressured to “teach stuff like this”.

If like many people in Ireland you are sick of listening to the hate, have a look at a video from Teachers for Marriage Equality, AFTER THE JUMP...

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WATCH: Straight Irish Dad Exposes Stupidity Of 'No' Side In Marriage Referendum in Must Watch Explainer Video

Video

With only one week to go until Ireland’s May 22nd referendum on same-sex marriage, straight, soon-to-be-married Patrick Corr explains why he wants his infant son to have the freedom to marry whoever he loves when the time comes, reports The Advocate.

IrelandWith voter fatigue setting in, Corr gives a potted version of the road to same-sex marriage following the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1993 and exposes the silliness of the ‘No’ campaign.

He also does away with the myth created by anti-gay groups like the Iona (fake) Institute that the referendum has anything at all to do with children.

Watch Patrick’s video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last month, comedian Brendan O'Carroll and Irish celebrity vulture/former Eurovision contestant Dustin made videos in support of same-sex marriage.

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Irish Photographer Exposes Stupidity of Anti-Gay Iona Institute: VIDEO

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Images via Facebook

6a00d8341c730253ef01b8d104076b970c-200wiWith Ireland's referendum on same-sex marriage getting closer and the anti-gay hatred spread by Catholic organizations increasing by the day, photographer Colin Phelan has exposed the absolute ridiculousness of the Iona Institute's arguments against marriage equality.

Phelan took photos with same-sex couples and paired them with quotes from the Iona Institute. The results? Just fantastic.

Iona is a particularly shady and unpleasant fake institute header by David Quinn and embarrassing mouthpiece Breda O'Brien (right).  Last year, Iona successfully sued national broadcaster RTE after Rory O'Neill / Panti Bliss suggested that they and others could well be homophobes.

Watch a report on O'Neill's comments, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Anti-Gay Activists Pay Close Attention To Ireland In Run-Up To Marriage Referendum: VIDEO

Iona

Ireland’s upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage is attracting international attention from many international anti-gay activists.

On May 22nd, Ireland will become the first country in the world to vote on same-sex marriage. The latest poll shows 78% of voters are in favor of passing the amendment.

In a wide-ranging article, BuzzFeed's J Lester Feder says that anti-equality activists have been paying close attention to the referendum, including Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage. Brown has apparently discussed the situation with the leader of Ireland’s ‘No’ campaign and U.S. activist Frank Schubert.

A strong network of anti-gay European groups has also been involved in the campaign, including French group Manif Pour Tous (MPT) and Italian activist Luca Volante.

Volante and MPT have also been involved with Brown’s attempts to create an International Organization for Marriage.

BuzzFeed reports:

David Quinn“The tactics of the No campaign — which is built around the argument that children will be harmed if same-sex couples are allowed to wed — look disturbingly familiar for American LGBT rights advocates, who are watching the Irish vote carefully. This is exactly the kind of messaging that ate away at support for marriage equality in the Proposition 8 campaign, and they believe it has the fingerprints of the conservative group that pulled off that upset victory, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

“The No side denies that it is borrowing tactics from California, saying it’s learned more from campaigns in eastern European countries like Slovenia in 2012 or Croatia in 2013, where referendums were passed curtailing partnership rights for same-sex couples.

“‘We wouldn’t be taking too many more lessons from Prop 8 than from elsewhere,’ said David Quinn [above right], head of the Iona Institute and adviser to Mothers and Fathers Matter.

“But the No camp has gotten some input from veterans of the California campaign and other marriage fights abroad. Frank Schubert, the conservative political consultant credited with the Proposition 8 victory, told BuzzFeed News before an NOM rally in Washington earlier this month that he has sent private polling, focus-group work, and other messaging guidance to activists on the No side. NOM President Brian Brown also said he had ‘talked a lot’ to Quinn periodically over the past few years, though they hadn’t communicated in over a year.

“Quinn said the Iona Institute’s only substantial international funding has been €24,000 over the past few years from an Italian foundation headed by a former member of the European Parliament, Luca Volonté, who sits on the board of the conservative online campaign platform CitizenGo along with NOM’s Brian Brown. But none of that money has gone to the referendum campaign, Quinn said.”

Watch the Iona Institute’s most recent anti-equality video, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Irish Catholic Bishops Ramp Up Campaign Against Marriage Equality: VIDEO

Michael neary

With Ireland’s referendum on same-sex marriage just 11 days away, the Catholic church is unsurprisingly upping their campaign for a 'No' vote, reports the Independent.

Although a priest from Donegal announced last week that he intends to vote in favor of same-sex marriage, six bishops have made public statements arguing against marriage equality.

Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, the most senior prelate in the west of Ireland, said the bishops were "not disparaging anyone" or being "disrespectful to same-sex relationships".

In a statement read out to congregations on Sunday, Neary incorrectly told the congregation that the referendum is about the family and not gay marriage.

The wording of the referendum is clearly stated:

“Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”

Neary insisted that he is neither being conservative or “mean spirited” in his opposition, arguing - again, incorrectly - that civil partnerships give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.

Neary’s views were echoed by Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick, Bishop John Kirby of Clonfert, Bishop Ray Browne of Kerry, Bishop Phonsie Cullinan of Waterford and Lismore and Bishop Leo O'Reilly of Kilmore.

Last week, anti-gay activist group The Iona Institute released a deliberately misleading video arguing for a No vote in the May 22nd referendum, which you can watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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