Singer and Athlone native Joe McCaul has joined members of Yes Equality Westmeath and their supporters to launch their campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the forthcoming Marriage Equality Referendum on May 22.
Joe was in Athlone recently with his mother Helen to campaign with the Yes Equality Bus which is bringing the case for a ‘Yes’ vote to town squares across the country and will cover 66 locations in 26 counties over 27 days.
Speaking at the launch Joe said: “This referendum is very hard for lesbian and gay people, because it’s so personal. It’s hard putting yourself out there and asking people to vote for your rights, but that’s what we've got to do.
“I’ve struggled with my own personal issues over the years and not feeling accepted for who I am was a huge part of that. I just hope that everyone realises that their vote will directly impact my life and the lives of many other young people in Athlone and the rest of the country. Your vote plays a huge part in our future and our future happiness. That’s why it’s so important to vote yes.”
Helen McCaul added: “I have six children and currently two of them are not legally entitled to get married in Ireland because they are gay. I want the same rights for all my children, whether they are gay or straight, and that’s why I’m supporting the ‘Yes’ campaign
“This referendum is not about surrogacy or adoption or anything the No side says it is. This is about extending marriage rights to gay people and Ireland standing up and proudly saying that we treat all our citizens equally.”
Yes Equality Westmeath (Athlone ) spokesperson Seamus Carey added: “For me personally this referendum is not just about extending civil marriage rights to gay people, but is also about sending a powerful message to young lesbian and gay people that they are valued, respected, and equal members of society.
“There’s a danger that some people may feel disconnected from this campaign because they feel it doesn’t affect them. But what if your child were gay..? Or your brother or sister..? Or your cousin? What rights would you want for them?”
People can get more information from www.facebook.com/Westmeathforequality
More information on Yes Equality: The Campaign for Civil Marriage Equality, including an information leaflet for members of the public, is available from www.yesequality.ie