Gerry Adams: Ireland’s equal marriage vote is ‘bigger than any one party’

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Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams has affirmed his support for equal marriage, and called for cross-party consensus on the issue.

The Republic of Ireland is set to vote on May 22 on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage.

The controversial politician, who is a TD for Louth in the Irish Parliament, made the comments as his party launched their ‘Yes’ campaign.

According to the Irish Examiner, he said: “People should not be using this issue to punish the government – this is bigger than any political party, it’s bigger than any politician.

“This is just about giving a very modest and basic right of equality to people who are Irish citizens.

“If you go back to the Proclamation [of the Irish Republic] it talks about all the citizens – it doesn’t say ‘unless you’re gay’ – it talks about all the children of the nation equally.”

In 2010, Mr Adams was accused of hypocrisy for taking part in a St Patrick’s Day march in Boston which bans gays from marching.

Alliance Party leader David Ford said at the time: “Sinn Fein at home talks a lot about inclusivity and equality. On the face of it it seems Mr Adams applies different standards in the US.”

Former President of Ireland Mary McAleese – who was the country’s president from 1997 until 2011 – also spoke in favour of a ‘Yes’ vote earlier this week.

The Fianna Fail politician said: “I’m hoping very much, my husband and I are both hoping very much, that it will be passed. We believe it to be a human rights issue.

“We’ve been watching with great interest the debate as it’s been evolving in Ireland and the concerns that people have in and around it.

“We’ve been thinking about it for a very long time, a very, very long time, and contemplating it for a long time.

“People have been saying it’s about children – it’s about Ireland’s gay children and about their future and about the kind of future we want for Ireland.”