Ireland: Yes campaign launches ahead of equal marriage referendum

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LGBT groups in Ireland have teamed up to launch a voter registration campaign, ahead of next year’s referendum on equal marriage.

The Republic of Ireland, which introduced civil partnerships in 2011, is set to vote next May on extending civil marriage to same-sex couples, with early polls suggesting a landslide victory for equality.

However, referendums have a history of unpredictability in the country, due to a combination of low turnouts and powerful religious lobbies.

Today, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, and Marriage Equality Ireland have all joined together to launch the ‘Yes Equality’ campaign.

The voter registration drive will be run in conjunction with the hundreds of local community groups, as well as through trade unions, the Union of Students in Ireland, and students’ unions.

Irish hurler Eoin Murphy, who has thrown his weight behind the campaign, said: “Next year we will have an important referendum on civil marriage equality.

“We want to make sure that no one misses the opportunity to have their voice heard on polling day.

“We are asking people to join us in registering to vote so that they can be part of creating a fairer Ireland for all.”

Activist Joanne O’Riordan said: “Younger voters in this referendum have the chance to make a real difference. This voter registration campaign is a critical first step in getting the vote out.

“We cannot afford to miss a single vote and if you’re not registered you can’t vote for civil marriage equality.”

There are currently no plans to introduce same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

Find out more on the Yes Equality Facebook page.