Marriage Equality's November Advocate of the Month

4 Nov 2010

Maurice Maurice and his niece, after completing the Cahirciveen Triathlon in June.

This month we are delighted to recognise the efforts of Maurice Ryder, an avid, long-time supporter of Marriage Equality. Maurice works in the University College Cork, where he is also an active member of the UCC Staff LGBT Network - a support network for staff working in UCC who are members of the LGBT community.

Throughout 2010, Maurice completed 5 triathlons - 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run - to raise money for Marriage Equality. On his blog, he referred to his challenge as Tri Anything for Marriage Equality, and his positive spirit during the triathlons is incredibly admirable. As he reflects on his blog:

"[T]he effort is worth it. The money being raised is even more important to the Marriage Equality cause after the passing of the civil partnership bill today. Because now we have to fight even harder for full equality. And it's going to take even longer than it should have done because there's going to be no appetite from any of the political parties to move from civil partnership any time soon. But we have to persist. If we don't insist on our rights to be seen as equal to straight people in the eyes of the laws of this country, the perception of the LGBT community as different and other and deviant will never fully lift. There are 9 countries in the world that offer true marriage equality to their citizens - Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Portugal, South Africa and Iceland. It would be class if Ireland could join that list sooner rather than later.

I have to admit I also got a bit of a buzz from running with Marriage Equality on the back of my t-shirt. While most people taking part were wearing their various triathlon club gear, I felt a little thrill of pride to be advocating for civil marriage for the LGBT community on the highways and bye ways of Waterford city, even if that advocacy was limited to my t-shirt.

I also got a nice cheer of support for Marriage Equality from one of my fellow triathletes during the cycle - a hefty "Hooray for Marriage Equality" was shouted at me as someone zoomed past me on her bike during the uphill part of the cycle."

In addition to his tireless fundraising efforts, Maurice has been an important online advocate for Marriage Equality. By tackling the issues surrounding civil partnerships, marriage equality and LGBT rights on his blog, Twitter feed and YouTube channel, Maurice has more than earned his title as November's Advocate of the Month.

"At the end of the day, the principle of civil marriage equality is an important civil rights issue, probably the defining civil rights issue of the first few decades of the 21st century. It's important to my own conscience that I do something to promote this issue and I feel this fundraising can be part of that."

Maurice Ryder - November's Advocate of the Month