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'I thought being gay meant I was worth less than ‘normal’ people'

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A new campaign launched today hopes to persuade people to vote yes in the same sex marriage referendum by showing how lives will be changed if passed.

The Vote With Us campaign has enlisted a broad spectrum of public figures and regular citizens both gay and straight who share their own experiences and state why they are voting yes.

More than 50 people have submitted videos, while campaign organisers are hoping more people will send in videos to create an even bigger catalogue.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy appears in one video saying voters will not vote against the referendum as an act of defiance against the Government.

“I think people know that the best way to strike a blow against the establishment in this country is to vote Yes. It would be a clear statement in favour of equal rights; against discrimination," he said.

"It would be another blow pushing back against the homophobia that still is fairly widespread in our society.”

In a personal videos on the campaign's website, Dubliner Gary O'Sullivan (23) said he felt being gay was a bad thing.

"I came out about 18 months ago to my friends and family and it was a very positive experience. I didn't feel comfortable telling people that I was gay, because I thought being gay was something to be ashamed of.

"I thought being gay meant that I was worth less than ‘normal’ people. This was a very depressing and lonely experience. I now wholeheartedly and gladly know that I was completely wrong," he said.

Getting people to share their own stories and perspectives is the best way to engage voters, according to campaign co-founder Dónal Mulligan.

"The campaign has been gathering its initial videos for several months and responds directly to the many recent calls by public figures for more personal and emotive narratives," he said.

Other public figures taking part in the campaign include TDs Jerry Buttimer and John Lyons, Newstalk presenter Dil Wickremasinghe and campaigner Rory O'Neill as his alter ego Panti.

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