Saturday 1 October 2016

With this referendum I thee wed - Senator

Claire Cullen, Kathryn Hayes and Maria Herlihy

Published 24/05/2015 | 02:30

LOVE IS IN THE AIR: Senator Katherine Zappone, left, kisses her partner Ann Louise Gilligan after the proposal at Dublin Castle
LOVE IS IN THE AIR: Senator Katherine Zappone, left, kisses her partner Ann Louise Gilligan after the proposal at Dublin Castle

The historic and resounding Yes vote prompted a deluge of same-sex marriage proposals across the country, as gay and lesbian partners popped the question to their loved ones.

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Senator Katherine Zappone took the lead as the result filtered through at Dublin Castle, proposing to her partner, asking her to re-marry her in Ireland.

The emotional moment was captured live on RTE television as Ms Zappone was speaking about the strong Yes vote indicated by first tallies.

Zappone and her partner, Ann Louise Gilligan, were married in Canada, but their marriage was not legally recognised in this country. The couple has been fighting for recognition of their union in the Irish courts since 2004.

In the wake of the overwhelming Yes vote, the senator 're-proposed' to her wife live on television. Within seconds, the senator's Wikipedia page was updated.

Senator David Norris joked that he would act as the couples' flower girl for the ceremony. Zappone earlier shed tears as she cast her vote in the historic referendum.

"People are voting for a Republic of love," she said.

Senator Zappone, who later reappeared on RTE, which filmed her partner's answer.

In front of the cameras, Ms Gilligan told her: "I said Yes 12 years ago in Canada and now we are bringing the Yes home. Yes, Yes, Yes! Today we are free! Yes, Yes, Yes!"

The moment fuelled the growing celerbratory mood in Dublin Castle as jubilant crowds descended on the area.

Meanwhile, in Limerick, where voters said Yes to gay marriage, one local woman said Yes again after she was surprised with a marriage proposal just seconds after the final tally result was confirmed.

As counting confirmed earlier tally predictions, and with Bruno Mars' hit Just the Way You Are blaring out on a speaker at the count centre in University Sports Arena, a woman got down on one knee to propose to her long-term girlfriend.

"Kate we make a great team. I love you inside and out, head to toe I don't want to waste another minute of my life without you as my wife," said Billie.

The 41-year-old got down on one knee and proposed to her 26-year-old partner Kate Stoica just seconds after tallies confirmed that the referendum was set to be passed in both Limerick constituencies.

"I'm very overwhelmed right now and slightly mortified," said Katie who was surrounded by friends and well-wishers including her mum Jacinta.

Born in Scotland but living in Limerick for the past 20 years, Billie, who doesn't use a surname, revealed she had been planning her marriage proposal for the past few days.

"I'd been planning this with my friends, but only for the past four days. I didn't want to ask if it was going to be a No result, so I came today not knowing if I was going to be able to say it or not.

"But I bought the ring and my friends helped and it looks like it is going to be a Yes so I thought I would ask while I could."

Among those congratulating the happy couple was Katie's mum Jacinta.

"I never thought this day would come. I am very happy for both of them and for everybody else as well."

In Ballincollig, Co Cork, there was a marriage proposal even before the tallies got under way.

Satty O'Riordan and her partner Gobhnait Ni Chrualaoi were travelling from their home in Ballymakeera to the count centre early yesterday morning when Gobhnait asked for her hand in marriage.

Gobhnait said she proposed on the presumption that the Yes vote would be carried. "I got back a Yes answer from Satty," laughed Gobhnait.

"We had a big civil ceremony and it was truly magical, but today has been the icing on the cake. I can now go out and buy a card for the wife. That will just be class."

Sunday Independent

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