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Hundreds gather for ‘Vote Yes’ rally in central Dublin

Hundreds gather for ‘Vote Yes’ rally in central Dublin

Hundreds of marriage equality supporters held a rally on the streets of Dublin today to kick off the ‘final countdown’ to Ireland’s referendum on marriage equality.

 Campaigners from all sectors across society – including teachers’ union and student union representatives and politicians – came together in Merrion Square.

‘Every vote counts and we urge people to use their voice for a positive change in Irish society,’ Max Krzyzanowski of Noise, who organized the event, told RTÉ.

‘This is a historic opportunity for Irish people to be on the right side of history and vote yes.’

Telling the crowd to ‘love those who were thinking about voting no into voting yes’ was host, comedian and author Tara Flynn who urged people to not be complacent, arguing the British election results showed them polls could be wrong.

Earlier today the Catholic Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, had said a Yes vote could mean school textbooks not promoting same-sex and male-female marriage  equally could face legal challenges.

A pastoral letter read at masses in Limerick today say Leahy state he could not support the government’s proposed amendment to the Constitution; he said the Irish government should be able to protect gay people’s civil rights without ‘undermining the meaning of marriage’.

He singled out marriage equality’s alleged impact on children who, so Leahy, have a right to be raised by a mother and a father unless this is not possible.

Leahy’s comments have been challenged by Faith in Marriage Equality (FiME), a Christian group supporting a Yes vote on 22 May.

Dr Richard O’Leary, spokesperson for FiME, said the Bishop would need to acknowledge Catholics may decide ‘in good conscience’ to vote yes.

‘I have seen literature inside churches in Limerick from ‘Vote No’ campaign groups which is insensitive to gay people and conveys homophobic attitudes,’ O’Leary told RTÉ.

‘I would ask Bishop Leahy to advise the priests in his diocese that they stock inside their churches only official church literature on the referendum.‘