Former Irish president Mary McAleese has given an incredible speech for gay marriage.
She has called on all families across Ireland to vote yes in the same-sex marriage referendum on Friday (22 May), saying the future for gay children is at stake.
Speaking of her hopes and fears for her gay son Justin, she said she hoped to live in a country that truly believes in equality.
She was speaking at an event in Dublin hosted by BeLonG To, a national organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people.
‘Irish marriage has already changed in far more fundamental ways than is now being proposed. And those changes haven’t destroyed it. They’ve purified it by rooting it, not in systematic discrimination against women, but in the love between equal people,’ McAleese said.
‘Another matter not discussed in this campaign to date is a theological body of opinion which believes Jesus knowingly acknowledged and blessed a same-sex union.’
‘We who are parents, brothers and sisters, colleagues and friends of Ireland’s gay citizens know how they have suffered because of second-class citizenship,’ she added.
‘This referendum is about them and them alone. The only children affected by this referendum will be Ireland’s gay children. It is their future which is at stake. It is in our hands.’
McAleese said Ireland’s LGBTI community is too small to win the referendum by themselves, and they need the allies – the majority – to help them to victory.
‘We, the majority, have to make it happen for them and for all the unborn gay children who are relying on us to end the branding, end the isolation, end the inequality, literally once and for all,’ she said.
‘A yes vote costs the rest of us nothing. A no vote costs our gay children everything.’