Thursday 27 October 2016

'It's your country... you should be proud of it' - Taoiseach tells young members of LGBT community

Published 07/05/2015 | 13:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

The Taoiseach today told a group of young members of the LGBT community campaigning for a Yes vote in the marriage equality referendum, “it’s your country, it’s your society, you should be proud of it, you want to be able to change it, so that’s why the government decided to have this referendum”.

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Mr. Kenny and Minister for Children James Reilly were speaking at BeLongTo, the national support organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, with members discussing the impact which a yes vote on May 22nd will have on their lives.

He warned against “complacency” in the campaign. “If this vote were to not approve the referendum change, it means Irish citizens are denying other Irish citizens the right to equality in society in terms of a marriage contract in civil law. But it’s not something to be taken for granted – complacency is always the enemy of every referendum.

Ninteen-year old Alison Kershaw from Blanchardstown told the Taoiseach “I want the right to get married like every other girl my age, and it is upsetting because I’m being discriminated by who I love, and who I am, and it’s not ok,” she said.

“So I’m encouraging people to go out and vote for young people like us who just want to be happy”.

Commenting on fears raised by some on the No side that the referendum will affect the rights of children, Minister Reilly said, “I would appeal to people to think long and hard on the issue that is before them and no all these other issues which have been brought into play by people who may have the best of intentions themselves, but they are muddying the waters”.

BeLongTo, which offers support to LGBT people between 14 and 23 years of age, has over 20 groups nationwide and tackles issues such as bullying in schools.

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