Protesters make Noise to demand same-sex rights
Thousands of people marched in Dublin yesterday to demand that same-sex couples be given the right to wed -- with a warning that it has become a major human rights issue.
Singer and gay rights advocate Brian Kennedy told a crowd of around 5,000 people that there is a huge gulf in rights between full marriage and the civil partnership legislation that came into affect this year.
"I once naively believed that civil partnership was equality; it took five minutes of education for me to learn that it wasn't," Mr Kennedy said.
"I believe this is a human rights issue. There are 150 anomalies between civil partnership and civil marriage."
Many of the anomalies he referred to include rights to guardianship of children and property inheritance which do not apply in civil partnership, campaigners say.
According to the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) support group Noise, which organised yesterday's march, the Civil Partnership Act 2011 has only served to cement inequality in Irish society by explicitly excluding LGBT people from the institution of marriage.
Yesterday, protesters stood defiantly against the limitations of the existing law and marched from City Hall to the Department of Justice at St Stephen's Green.
The peaceful and energetic demonstration is now in its third year, and organisers say its visibility is crucial to keep marriage on the gay agenda and to stop discrimination.
"People are becoming more and more aware," said Max Krzyzanowski of Noise.
"We are getting the word out ever wider and as soon as people become aware (of the facts) their jaws drop at the sheer absurdity of the legal situation."
The event was well attended and featured a number of well known faces including Senator Katherine Zappone and her partner Ann Louise Gilligan, and singer Brian McFadden with girlfriend Vogue Williams.
"It's really to open the dialogue about talking about rights for gay marriage and addressing the inequality in the legislation that we have at the moment," said Chris Rowan (23) who marched alongside partner Neil O'Brien (26).
"It's not about people agreeing with gay marriage; that is their choice. It's more about whether people disagree with discrimination."