Friday 30 September 2016

Brian O'Driscoll and a host of sports stars are backing a Yes vote in Marriage Referendum

Published 11/05/2015 | 12:49

Robbie Keane, Brian O'Driscoll and Cian Healy are all backing a Yes vote
Robbie Keane, Brian O'Driscoll and Cian Healy are all backing a Yes vote

Brian O'Driscoll has reiterated his support for a Yes vote in the forthcoming Marriage Referendum.

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The rugby legend joined fellow influential sports stars Robbie Keane and Cian Healy in showing public support for a Yes vote over the weekend when he tweeted: "I'm supporting the Yes Equality campaign for a yes vote on May 22nd, add a #Twibbon now!"

Healy is in hospital recovering from neck surgery and also expressed his view on the 'No' campaign when he tweeted to his 200k followers: "Also, I think the "No" posters are an outright disgrace. They're not holes in the "No" argument, they're craters! #Yes

"No campaign is against any single parents or adoption judging by their posters. I find that highly offensive. Haven't heard them clarify."

And Robbie Keane went to the effort of penning an emotional open letter to the Sunday World Newspaper.

The Republic of Ireland captain and LA Galaxy star said he was prompted to voice his support because he fears gay people are being “excluded because of their sexuality”.

In the letter, Robbie made an impassioned plea in favour of the referendum being passed when the electorate goes to the polls on May 22nd.

“Although I am currently working and living outside of the country, I have been following the commentary and debate on the upcoming Referendum on same-sex marriage,” wrote Keane.

“While, unfortunately, I will not be home to vote on May 22, I am strongly supporting a ‘YES’ vote.

Read more: Robbie Keane writes emotional letter backing a Yes vote in Marriage Referendum 

Read more: "Outright disgrace and Highly offensive" - Cian Healy tweets his anger at 'No' campaign in Marriage Referendum

“Most of us will have friends or family who, up to now, have been denied to right to marry their loved ones or have been made to feel excluded because of their sexuality. To me, this feels wrong,” he continued.

“I am a very proud Irishman and it is important to me that our country does, and is seen to, treat all of its citizens on an equal footing.

“As a sportsman, fairness is key. My own personal view is that changing our Constitution on this issue is the right decision as it will give people the choice and opportunity to marry, irrespective of the fact that they may wish to marry someone of the same gender.”

He added: “Marriage equality is an easy answer for me and will show the world that Ireland is a compassionate country that recognises and accepts diversity, and most importantly treats its’ citizens equally.

“The rules of the game should be the same for all, no matter what team is right for you.”

Keane’s words in support of marriage equality rights for gay people are particularly significant given he works in a sport where homophobia is a major issue.

His current LA Galaxy team-mate, football star Robbie Rogers, came out as gay in 2013 and subsequently announced his retirement from football. But he continues to play and was later signed by the high-profile US team.

Rogers is one of just a tiny number of players who are openly gay in football.

“Life is simple when your secret is gone,” he has since said. “Gone is the pain that lurks in the stomach at work, the pain from avoiding questions, and at last the pain from hiding such a deep secret.”

Keane’s words in support, sent to the Sunday World with thanks to Tony Hickey, are certain to bolster the campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the crucial final days leading up to the referendum.

Read more: Robbie Keane writes emotional letter backing a Yes vote in Marriage Referendum 

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