A year has gone by, a year since the Marriage Equality referendum passed. There has been no great breakdown of society, no children ripped from mothers arms to be placed into a motherless home, no great scandalising of the Irish people. In fact, nothing has happened at all, apart from bringing more happiness into the world we live in.
22nd May, 2015. A day when Irish society did the right thing, and afforded equality, equal rights, under referendum of the people, to citizens regardless of their sexual orientation. It had been a long road until that point, filled with a lot of strife, but it was done. That Day In May. The day Irish society changed, grew up and became openly accepting.
I brought E along with me to vote that morning, wanting him to be part of this thing which I hoped would be a tide change of history in this little state of ours. I hoped that the people would do the right thing. I wanted equality for my friends who love the same way I love, but merely have that love for someone of the same gender as themselves. I hoped that this would not be a topic of discussion I would have to raise with my child as he grew up, why girls can’t marry girls and boy’s can’t marry boys. I want to raise him in a world where anything is possible and that old institutional restrictions will not hold back something as pure as love.
The people came out in their droves. An amazing drive of #hometovote, young people who had left Ireland for opportunities elsewhere came home to ensure that equal rights were afforded to their friends, their families, the people they love. They came to make the country they left behind a better place for them to come back to. They came to ensure marriage equality for all.
Despite the opposition of certain conservative religious groups, who it was feared had a great level of control over an older demographic, an overall majority came out in favour of love, on that day in May. Mothers, Grandmothers, Fathers, Grandfathers, Aunts, Uncles, Sisters, Brothers. Stories came to light of people who couldn’t reveal their true selves up until now out of fear, but were now speaking out loud to ensure others would not have to be silenced.
It was incredible. There were (and have been since) tears. Yes, this video still made me well up, all this time later. It’s just an amazing thing that we managed to do, just by using our democracy for good.
The world has changed so much in the past year. Since our little republic brought in marriage equality by popular vote, the first country to do so, all US states have legalised same sex marriage – just a month after it was brought in here. An amazing movement across the world of acceptance and “live and let live” has taken place and it feels good as a parent to know that the world I am putting my son out into will hopefully, by the time he is grown and out on his own, accept him for whoever he loves.
As the song goes, Let there be love.
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