School-going voters could swing referendum results, says Burton
Published 08/05/2015 | 02:30
Tánaiste Joan Burton has praised young people for registering to vote in the upcoming marriage referendum.
Ms Burton said she had been struck by the number of Leaving Cert students she had met who said they had registered to vote.
"So if they actually turn out and vote, I think that not only will it be a tremendous exercise in democracy, but it will really influence the outcome," she added.
Ms Burton said it was important that the public keep the idea of marriage, its meaning and significance, at the front of their minds - she stressed that strengthening the institution of marriage was at the core of this debate.
The Tánaiste was speaking in Galway, where she joined members of the Yes Equality group for a public talk.
She said she had received a positive response to the vote from around the country.
"The response from people is extremely good.
"We're meeting a lot of people from every different age group right across the country who are determined to vote 'Yes', so it's critical they come out and vote," she added.
Ms Burton praised both sides of the debate for remaining respectful.
She rejected claims that a 'Yes' vote would alter an institution that has remained unchanged for centuries.
She said marriage has had a long history of adaptation and change over the centuries, especially concerning the rights of women.
"If marriage is to stay relevant, to stay important and to remain an essential part of our family and social relationships, it also has to remain in tune with the values of every generation, and that means that it should keep up with changing attitudes towards gay and lesbian citizens," she added.