BeLonG To Has Today Unveiled a Nationwide Coalition of Youth and Children’s Organisations Supporting a ‘Yes’ Vote in Marriage Equality Referendum.
BeLonG To, the national organisation for LGBT young people, together with a nationwide coalition of youth and children’s organisations, is calling on parents to help secure a ‘Yes’ vote in the marriage equality referendum on May 22.
The ‘BeLonG To YES’ campaign was launched at an event at Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin this morning, which was addressed by LGBT young people and their parents.
It was announced many of the leading youth charities and organisations in the country are on board with BeLonG To and support a Yes vote in the upcoming marriage referendum. Organisations include ISPCC, Barnardos, Foróige, Youth Work Ireland, the Migrant Rights Centre, the Children’s Rights Alliance, Pavee Point and EPIC
Michael Barron, Founding Director of BeLonG To, said, “The ‘BeLonG To YES’ campaign involves an unprecedented coalition of youth and children’s organisations coming together for LGBT equality. We will use our vast networks across Ireland to work for a ‘yes’ vote in the forthcoming referendum, and we will also collaborate closely with Yes Equality. Together, we are working for equality for all young people.
“In particular, ‘BeLonG To YES’ is aiming to engage parents in securing a ‘yes’ vote. We want to highlight the importance of this referendum for young people and future generations.”
“Securing marriage equality is hugely important for LGBT young people, in particular,” said Mr. Barron. “Too many LGBT young people experience difficult times growing up and know they don’t enjoy equal rights. If marriage equality is not passed, we reconfirm to them that their all too common experiences of homophobic bullying and rejection are acceptable in Ireland. This would be a devastating outcome.
“Many LGBT young people don’t have a voice because they’re still too young to vote but the outcome of this referendum will deeply affect their lives. They really want their parents and older relatives to campaign for and vote ‘yes’.
“The organisations involved in ‘BeLonG To YES’ will work together over the coming weeks to encourage young people to talk to their parents about supporting the referendum, and then have their parents talk to family, friends and colleagues to pass on that message. We must not forget that this is a nationwide referendum and reaching out to people in rural areas is paramount, because it is in these communities that this referendum will be won.
“Marriage equality affects not only today’s adults, but also today’s children and the children of the future. We are delighted, and we see it as very positive, that our ‘Yes’ campaign has the support of a large coalition of youth and children’s groups.
“We have seven weeks to do right by our young people and ensure Ireland becomes a country where no young person has to suffer because of their sexuality. Just imagine what will be possible for future generations of LGBT young people when their future begins with a resounding ‘yes’.”
Vera Kelly, who is involved in running a monthly support group for parents of LGBT children, spoke at today’s launch. Her son, Jamie, is gay.
“I am the mother of two adult children whom I love and respect very much,” she said. “From the time they were born, I have always treated them equally and, as my daughter has the right to marry, I don’t see why my son should not be afforded the same right just because he’s gay.
“We should all be treated equally and by voting ‘yes’ on 22nd May, it will help eliminate injustice towards the LGBT community. All parents want what’s best for their children. Essentially, we just want them to be happy. I urge parents throughout Ireland to think about the happiness you will bring to LGBT young people if you vote ‘yes’ in May.”
© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.