Inishowen Senator Padraig MacLochlainn has said he hopes that those who voted ‘No’ in the Marriage Equality referendum a year ago have had their concerns banished.
The Sinn Fein representative said that he had been “very proud” of Inishowen people for having voted by majority in favour of equality for same-sex couples wishing to tie the knot, in a move which has resulted in a number of local people being able to get married locally.
He added however that there was still a way to go for the LGBT community, particularly young people, to feel confident about themselves and their sexuality being accepted.
Senator Padraig said the main credit for the success of the successful local campaign should go to the Yes Equality Donegal campaigners and all those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community and their families who told their own stories in the lead up to the vote.
He said there were a series of tremendous events across Inishowen in the lead up to the campaign, including hundreds of people rallying by the beach in Buncrana in a “powerful” show of support.
Senator MacLochlainn said he hoped the significant number of people who had voted ‘No’ in the referendum realised that impact had been positive rather than negative.
“There were very good people who voted no. I hope now they see there was nothing to worry about. I appreciate they had concerns, but I hope they can see that marriage has not changed. It hasn’t diluted marriage between a man and a woman, and there has been no undermining of the family.
“It is just now saying to people who love each other, you can get married as well; you are not a second class citizen.
“Weddings are a centre-piece of our culture and it is an expression of your love. If you are a young LGBT person and you live in a country that says you can’t get married it is like saying ‘we will tolerate you but we won’t accept you’re the same as us’. I’m very, very proud of the people of Inishowen for voting yes. I have personal friends, dear friends, who are LGBT and I am so proud people voted yes so they would be first class citizens.”