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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 27, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 13
Amnesty International endorses Irish marriage referendum
Section One
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Amnesty International endorses Irish marriage referendum

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The leading human rights organization Amnesty International has endorsed a Yes vote in Ireland's upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage and is campaigning to turn out voters.

The Republic of Ireland will vote on a proposal to amend the country's constitution and legalize same-sex civil marriage May 22.

'May 22 will be an historic date,' Amnesty Ireland Director Com O'Gorman said to a rally outside Dublin's historic General Post Office.

'It is a day when we all, as Irish people, have a chance to stand for a Republic of equals. A day when we can more fully realize equality for all of our people.

'It is fitting that we are launching this campaign outside the GPO. Here, almost a century ago those who proclaimed our Republic, asserted that Ireland would value and cherish all of its people equally.'

Amnesty International has officially supported equal marriage since 2007.

Recent polling shows that 75% of Irish voters support marriage equality, in spite of the country's Roman Catholic heritage. Equality supporters still worry that older voters - the ones most likely to turn out to vote - will be unwilling to break with Catholic tradition.

Amnesty International brought former Fianna Fáil minister Pat Carey to speak at the GPO event and call for older people to support equality.

According to the Irish Independent newspaper, he said 'People of my generation do have doubts but they are our greatest supporters when they are convinced.

'This is a campaign like any other - voters need to be asked. Irish people are used to being asked on the doorsteps for their vote. We must avail of every opportunity to make direct contact with voters. Sitting at home talking to each other or talking to people who are already convinced won't win this referendum - conviction, hard work and shoe leather will.'

'When this referendum passes I believe it will lead to Ireland becoming an even more generous, kinder, compassionate, caring and tolerant country but we cannot take a Yes for granted.'

Fianna Fáil is a centrist and nationalist political party, and the main electoral rival of the center-right Fine Gael party which currently leads the Irish government.

Fine Gael Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny supports marriage equality, as do all parties in the Irish Dail (parliament).

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