Crowds gather at Dublin Castle to celebrate anniversary of Marriage Equality Referendum

Hundreds have gathered in the courtyard of Dublin Castle today to mark the first anniversary of the passing of the Marriage Equality Referendum.

The referendum was passed by 62%, with 1.2 million people voting Yes for same-sex marriage.

In 2006, Katherine Zappone and her wife Ann Louise Gilligan unsuccessfully took a case to the High Court for their Canadian marriage to be recognised by Irish law.

However, the case became one of first major events in the debate on the recognition of same-sex marriage in Ireland.

The now Minister for Children and Youth Affairs said that the long fight for equal recognition of their marriage was worth it in the end.

"Ann Louise and I always beleieved that one day it would happen," she said.

"We weren't sure how that would unfold, and we also believed that it would need a huge effort by lots of different people throughout the country in order to bring this about."

Gráinne Healy, a co-director of YesEquality and chair of Marriage Equality said: “It is a great joy to see the marriages that have taken place all around Ireland, with couples supported by their families, friends and communities in celebrating their love.

“412 couples have already married since November last year.

“Hundreds more couples had their foreign marriages automatically recognised.”

“We are delighted to share this day with those that helped and supported Yes Equality and look forward to many more happy days out for couples who can share in our joy” she added.

Kieran Rose, co-chair of GLEN – the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network and a co-founder of Yes Equality, said: “This day last year was an overwhelming and exhilarating mixture of happiness, elation and generosity shared by all communities across every part of Ireland.

“It showed the world that Irish people are open, welcoming and supportive of their gay and lesbian family members and friends and wanted to share the happiness of marriage with them.”

“There are still many obstacles to overcome on the path to true equality but offering marriage to all has clearly established fairness, equal opportunity and real happiness for same sex couples in Ireland.

“To come on such a long journey in such a short space of time is something all Irish people can be truly proud of.”

Sinn Féin Senator Fintan Warfield warned that marriage equality needs to be spread island wide, however.

“We don’t have civil marriage equality across this island and members of the community in Belfast don’t have the same rights as members here in Dublin,” he said.

“So I think the first act of the Sinn Fein Assembly team in Stormont is bringing forward legislation that’s going to extend marriage equality across the North, and that will allow us to have island-wide marriage equality, and legislate for that.”


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