GAA star: for the first time I feel supported and loved by people I've never met
One of Ireland's most decorated sports stars has said the marriage equality debate has left gay people feeling for the first time they are a valuable part of Irish society.
GAA star Valerie Mulcahy (31) issued an 11th hour plea for a Yes vote today after going public about her sexuality last January.
The nine-time All Ireland winner and Cork ladies' football legend said Ireland now had a chance to deliver "kindness, compassion, acceptance and love for everyone and not just for some".
"Over the past few weeks and months, I have felt a change," she said. "The equal marriage debate has given us all a reason to communicate and a motivation to listen.
"For the first time in my life I feel unashamed, protected, supported and loved by people I don't know and have never met. I now have my view firmly fixed on the future. Around the corner is hope. Let us learn from our past."
Her comments came as Dublin football star Ger Brennan outlined that he will be voting No because Ireland's Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights holds that marriage is a male-female union.
Mr Brennan, who won an All-Ireland medal with Dublin, insisted that no one should be accused of being homophobic if they vote No in good conscience, just because they believe in a specific definition of marriage.
"It seems pretty clear that if we redefine marriage and the family by making marriage genderless we will be denying that there is any special value in a child having both a mother and a father," he said.
Mr Brennan said many people who are voting No have gay friends and respect gay rights.