Castlebar Sinn Féin town councillor Thérese Ruane this week spoke out welcoming the news that a referendum on marriage equality is likely to take place in first half of 2015. Ruane has been a strong proponent of the introduction of marriage equality, and in October 2012 she proposed a motion at Castlebar Town Council calling for marriage equality for all regardless of race, religion, or sexuality, which was supported by the council, following which a letter was sent to Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter stating the council’s support for the motion.
Speaking this week, following indications from Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore on the likelihood of such a referendum at a youth conference held last weekend, Ruane said: "I welcome the news that a referendum on marriage equality will more than likely take place in January 2015. Members of the LGBT community are not second class citizens. They deserve and are entitled to the same rights and entitlements as anyone else. Expression of love and commitment is something our society should encourage. Marriage equality is about respecting and protecting loving couples and families who are part of our communities and treating them as equal. A Red C poll in February of last year showed that 73 per cent of people are in favour of marriage equality. The issue of marriage equality for same sex couples is gaining more and more momentum. I believe the passing of my motion in Castlebar Town Council, the recommendation from the Constitutional Convention, and the news at the weekend that a referendum on marriage equality is likely to take place in 2015 is very welcome and sends a loud and clear message of support for civil marriage and equal rights and entitlements for same sex couples. The time for marriage equality is now."