In May 2015, flights coming in from every corner of the world on route to the little Emerald Isle reached full capacity, as Irish people dropped everything to come home and VOTE YES to marriage equality. The referendum, which allowed people choose love over religious driven gender discrimination, seen an overwhelming 66,000 new people register to vote. This record-breaking figure showed that equality holds a high place in our values, and that we were ready to fight for it.
The heated campaign tested the strength and character of everyone involved, some losing the respect of the nation through uneducated, small-minded ignorance, others rising up tall to become well respected advocates of positive change, and others becoming heroes who would have made Harvey Milk himself burst with pride.
When the vote was in, the YES campaigners celebrated, girls and boys, women and men, love and colours and rainbows and happiness, freedom and hope and life and equality. Had the NO campaigners won, they would have had nothing to celebrate, returning home that evening content that they have forced their friends and neighbours deeper into the emotional hell they were so close to breaking free from only hours before.
Two years on, the positivity of the YES result is shining brighter than ever, with gay people feeling pride instead of shame as they hold hands on the streets of Dublin, happily planning their futures without fear and with the support of their nation behind them. Through the YES vote, people have been given the strength, courage, and the basic human right to be themselves.
The fact that this law was ever in place at all undoubtedly made many of us grow bitter and cold towards our backwards little country, however on May 22nd 2015 we made our mark on the world, paving the way for future change and regaining our lost faith in humanity, proving indeed that hope will never be silent.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.”