Irish actor Andrew Scott called the day that Ireland voted Yes for marriage equality the happiest day of his life.
In an interview with UK magazine Winq, Scott marvelled at the societal shift which has occurred in Ireland since he was a teenager and homosexuality was still a criminal offence.
“It’s extraordinary,” the Sherlock actor said. “In 1993 I would have been 16 so it would have been illegal for me to hold my boyfriend’s hand.
The fact that Ireland became the first country in the world to vote in gay marriage by popular vote, by referendum, that is absolutely extraordinary to me
“And now, genuinely, the fact that Ireland became the first country in the world to vote in gay marriage by popular vote, by referendum, that is absolutely extraordinary to me.”
Since the marriage equality referendum, the LGBT+ community in Ireland are acutely aware of this acceptance.
This year, Senator David Norris noted with joy that in a post-marriage equality Ireland gay couples can walk down Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge holding hands with the knowledge that the majority of Ireland is behind them.
Scott did some campaigning for marriage equality before the 2015 referendum which made the Yes vote even more significant for him.
“And the day that result came out was probably the happiest day of my life. Because I’d done a little bit of campaigning for it and I think it’s a landmark in Irish history – there’s no doubt about it,” Scott continued.
Speaking about his childhood growing up in Ireland, he touched on the Catholic church’s loosening grip over Irish society.
“There was a priest in our school who said it was absolutely unnatural,” to be gay, Scott said. “I think he said it was disgusting, right in front of the class and the class laughed.”
In Sherlock, Scott plays the hero’s arch-nemesis, Moriarty, a mentally unhinged villain whose flair for the dramatic is unrivalled throughout the series.
“It’s been the most important thing, to be able to not sanitize myself in work and to do things that are bold and have a bit of flair,” he said.
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