Yes campaign kicks off in Mayo ahead of marriage equality vote

Yes Equality Mayo at the St Patrick's Day parade, Castlebar.

Yes Equality Mayo at the St Patrick's Day parade, Castlebar.

The group, Yes Equality Mayo, which is campaigning for a yes vote in the upcoming referendum on marriage equality for same sex couples, has kicked off its campaign in earnest.

The group took part in the St Patrick’s Day parade in Castlebar led by two brides on a three-wheeled motorcycle, bearing a sign declaring they were ‘nearly married’.

“I would love to marry the woman of my dreams and, hopefully, after May 22, I will be able to,” said Arlene Clarke, one of the brides-to-be.

According to the group, one in 10 Irish people are gay or lesbian and this translates to 13,000 lesbian and gay men in Mayo.

“This referendum is about real people - our families, our friends, the people in our community,” said Marina Tuffy, a spokeswoman for the Mayo campaign.

“Irish people are traditionally fair-minded and, as our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, said, a yes vote will show the world that we are a compassionate and tolerant nation.”

The campaign will be working with local TDs to get the message across, added Ms Tuffy.

In the next few weeks, Yes Equality Mayo will be setting up information stalls in town centres and distributing leaflets as well as holding fundraising events.

Ms Tuffy said that so far they have gathered supporters in Achill, Ballinrobe, Ballina, Castlebar, Kilmovee and Westport.

While national polls seem to indicate that there is significant support for a yes vote, Jean Cross from Yes Equality Mayo warned that nothing should be taken for granted.

“Polls can get it wrong and they can make people complacent. It is vitally important that our supporters actually go out and vote on the day. We cannot stress this point enough,” said Ms Cross. “Mayo is a big county and we have a lot of work to do.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Catholic Priests said it has decided not to take a position on the same-sex marriage referendum and has urged its members not to direct parishioners to vote either yes or no.

“After a consultation with our members, the results of which indicated clearly a wide range of views, the Association of Catholic Priests has decided not to adopt a position in favour or against the marriage equality referendum,” said the organisation in a statement this week.


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