Sunday 11 December 2016

From Albert Square to City Hall as brother's marriage brings referendum result home for Labour minister

Jane O'Faherty

Published 01/04/2016 | 02:30

Alex White, Seamus White, Agatha White and John O’Sullivan at Seamus and John’s marriage in City Hall, Dublin
Alex White, Seamus White, Agatha White and John O’Sullivan at Seamus and John’s marriage in City Hall, Dublin

The glittering surroundings of City Hall didn't make the marriage of Alex White's brother, Seamus, too imposing.

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As Seamus and his fiancé, John O'Sullivan, held hands while saying their vows, they let out a chuckle that rippled through the smiling crowd around them.

Seamus first met John, from Kildare, in July 2011. The pair moved in with each other a few weeks after their first date.

The couple and were also very involved in the Yes campaign for the same-sex marriage referendum. However, that isn't their only connection to that fateful day in May.

"We had a civil partnership on May 22, 2014, so our first anniversary was the day the referendum was held," Seamus said. "We hoped it would be our last anniversary, because we wanted to get married."

"May 22 will always be important to me because of our civil partnership, but mostly because of the referendum," he added.

"We happened to be in Dublin Castle on the day - we got in in time before they closed the doors," he continued. "It was the most joyous day we ever had. It was just fantastic." The cheers, whistles and applause as the pair walked down the aisle weren't unlike the raucous celebrations in Dublin Castle last year.

"It's a very civic thing to get married in the City Hall of your city, because that's what happens in most other countries in the world," Seamus said.

Seamus first came out to his family on Christmas night in 1988, when he was a 19-year-old Trinity College student. He has since described that night as "our very own Eastenders moment".

The newlyweds said they would begin married life with an overnight stay in Howth, a bigger party at the weekend followed by a honeymoon to Greece.

The brief and intimate ceremony reunited Seamus' proud mother Agatha and the seven White siblings, two of whom currently live in the United States.

Alex White told the Irish Independent that the wedding was the first time the whole family had been brought together for a celebration.

"For me, it literally brings home that big event last year - the constitutional change and what happened with the same-sex marriage referendum," he added.

Irish Independent

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