Novelist Colm Tóibín spoke of the work of Irish gay literary giants and the right of people to "ritualise and copper-fasten their love" at a lecture in Trinity Hall.
The talk, entitled 'The Embrace of Love: Being Gay in Ireland Now', focused on same-sex relationships and literature.
In relation to the marriage referendum, Tóibín told the crowd: "We are not talking about sexuality. We are talking about our love, the embrace of love, how our love equals that of our fellow citizens.
"We should be able to ritualise and copper-fasten our love."
During his lecture, Tóibín discussed Roger Casement's diaries, the work of Oscar Wilde, John Broderick and Kate O'Brien.
He also discussed Senator David Norris's battles in the High Court in the 1980s.
Tóibín (59) has previously said he would "love to have the right to get married" to his partner in Ireland.
The three-times Booker Prize-nominated writer said it was important for voters to frame the referendum in personal terms, asking themselves how they would feel if it was their son or daughter who was gay.