Yes Equality campaign launched in Dublin

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A pro-equal marriage campaign has been officially launched in the Republic of Ireland – just over two months before the country’s referendum.

The Yes Equality campaign, a collaborative campaign being led by several gay rights groups in Ireland, was officially launched this morning.

The campaign aims to get people to register to vote so that they can support equal marriage in the upcoming referendum on May 22.

The launch took place in front of an enthusiastic crowd in a packed Pillar Room in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

In attendance were Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Joan Burton, Ministers Alex White (Irish Labour Party) and Dr James Reilly (Fine Gail), and Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power.

Representatives of trade unions, social justice organisations, civil society and faith-based groups were also present.

Event chairman, former RTÉ journalist Charlie Bird, was keen to highlight the broad support the campaign has received, and was optimistic for the outcome of the vote, saying: “the arc of history has moved on […] two people who love each other should have the right to marry regardless of their sexuality”.

Grainne Healy, chair of the marriage equality campaign, affirmed the centrality of the family in the campaign: “We are the family values campaign.. We value love, commitment and family security.”

Her words come on the same morning that the Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran, controversially claimed in an interview that gay parents “are not parents” and compared homosexuality to Down’s syndrome.

Yes Equality spokesperson, co-founder and chairman of GLEN (Gay and Lesbian Equality Network) Kieran Rose said the group could not win the campaign on its own and asked the Irish people to get involved, to show their commitment to equality and freedom and join the campaign to win the referendum: “Irish people have, with characteristic generosity and fairness, supported emancipation of lesbian and gay people over the past 20 years,’’ he added. “We are appealing to the same values again.’”