Politicians expected to have a gay old time this summer

8 Jul 2008

David Norris - Launch of 'You're not out until you're out to your TD' Campaign 08.07.08 Senator David Norris - Launch of 'You're not out until you're out to your TD' Campaign

Politicians may think they are on holidays as the Dail breaks for its 3 month recess but MarriagEquality are calling on gay men and lesbians, their mothers, fathers, friends, relatives and everyone who believes in equality to visit their local TD, Senator or county councillor during the summer months to ask them to extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The campaign, 'You're not out until you're out to your TD' encourages people to visit their local TDs, Senators and County Councillors and outline to them that as a result of being denied civil marriage, lesbian and gay couples do not have the choice to have their relationship or families recognised and protected by the constitution and that this is totally unacceptable and must change. For more information visit www.marriagequality.ie/action or call 01 6599459.

Senator David Norris, politician and activist commented, "The Government wasted their opportunity to legitimise same-sex relationships, they have failed us on many levels. What we want isn't radical or complicated, put simply, we want equality.'

He continued, 'I would urge as many people as possible to sign up to the 'You're not out until you're out to your TD' campaign. Visit the MarriagEquality website, www.marriagequality.ie/action where a range of information is available to help you make the most of your visits. This isn't just for gay men and lesbians, it is for the everyone who believes in the human right of marriage being extended to adults who wish to marry regardless of their sexuality."

The pilot scheme for the TD campaign has been running since February. Numerous individuals have been visiting their local political representatives as part of this and have had encouraging results. In a number of cases, TDs were not informed on the subject but later reverted with positive feedback. MarriagEquality are urging the general public to visit their local representatives and have their voice heard today.

MarriagEquality believes that visits generated by its TD campaign is the best way to win the hearts and minds of local representatives and hopes that it will ultimately lead to the introduction of gay and lesbian civil marriage in Ireland.

Moninne Griffith, MarriagEquality Coordinator commented, "Lesbian and gay couples living in Ireland who wish to marry and have their relationships, families and children recognised and protected by the constitution cannot do so under current law. Action is needed now. The people of Ireland must have their voice heard on this subject. Extending civil marriage to same-sex couples will only serve to strengthen the institution of marriage."

The Government is saying that Irish people are not ready for lesbians and gay men to marry in a civil ceremony but research supports a very different view. There has been a huge public shift in recent times on the issue. Almost 60% of Irish people think that lesbians and gay men should have the option to marry. Furthermore, an overwhelming 86% of people agreed that children of gay and lesbian parents should have the same family rights as other children.

The government's own 2006 Colley report on cohabiting couples found that marriage equality was the only measure that could guarantee full equality for same-sex couples.

The Irish Constitution does not define marriage as being between a man and a woman. MarriagEquality shares the opinion of some of Ireland's finest constitutional lawyers who see no constitutional impediment to providing marriage equality. There is no substance to the argument that full equality for same sex couples is unconstitutional.

More information on 'You're not out until you're out to your TD' can be found on www.marriagequality.ie/action

Media Contact: Andrew Hyland, Platinum Public Relations, 087 9088 322 / andrewhyland@platinumpr.ie