We’re All In The Gay Marriage Campaign Together


This year’s March For Marriage, the last before the referendum, was empowering and worrying at the same time, says Christine Allen.


‘Marry me?’

Its 4am, I’m drunk and my girlfriend is looking with a mixture of amusement and incredulity at the Harribo ring I’m brandishing in her direction. Citing my intoxication and questionable choice of ‘jewellery’, she refuses.

That proposal of sorts took place back in 2008, two years before the introduction of civil partnership. At the time, same-sex marriage was not really on the general radar. Such ‘engagements’ were akin to ‘playing house’ – token gestures that could never be legally realised.

When I was eleven years of age, I distinctly remember focusing on the wedding band that encircled my sister’s husband’s finger. Like many gay people, I knew from a young age that I was attracted to people of the same gender. Along with this realisation came the knowledge that I would never wear such an item of jewellery as a symbol of my commitment to another woman. This understanding was something I never questioned, for it was written in stone.

On August 24, 8,000 people took part in what comedian/actress Tara Flynn, in her rousing speech on the day, coined our ‘final’ March for Marriage. The number of people in attendance, coupled with the news that the newly crowned Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh had come out, brought home to me for the first time that equal marriage is a realistic prospect in Ireland.

My Future Wedding Day

When the crowds had dispersed, and I had secured a seat on the No’27 bus, I began concerning myself with the logistics of my future wedding day – something I had never before indulged in. Would my Dad (and best friend), who is now in his late 60s, still be around to walk me up the aisle? Would he refer to our countless chats and the advice he offered regarding my ailing love life in his speech? Would I brave a wedding dress or opt for the more comfortable waistcoat and trousers ensemble?

Despite having attended previous protests demanding marriage equality for all Irish citizens, it wasn’t until I was on that bus home that I realised how much I want same-sex marriage legislation to be implemented.

Following this realisation, I felt scared – scared that the referendum next Spring will not pass, leaving the inequality that currently enshrined in our statute books intact.

While organisations such as LGBT Noise and Marriage Equality will no doubt do their utmost to ensure that all myths regarding the ‘consequences’ of same-sex marriage are debunked, the result of the referendum next Spring ultimately rests with those it will not effect.

If In Doubt

There is a well-known saying: ‘if in doubt, do nout’. While many straight people are in favour of same-sex marriage, a significant number still remain uncertain about how to vote.

The results of an Irish Times MRBI poll, released in April of this year, reveal that 16 per cent of those over 65 are undecided when it comes to gay marriage (12 per cent when the overall population is taken into account). Considering the opponents to Marriage Equality have not yet hit second gear, never mind third and fourth, in regards to a ‘no’ campaign, undecided voters in double figures should be taken heed of, because this number has the potential to grow.

The BAI’s decision to uphold a complaint made on behalf of the Family and Media Association against a segment of the Derek Mooney show, in which guests and the presenter expressed their support for gay marriage, is proof positive that our voices will not remain unchecked by those in opposition.

If the concerns held by many in regard to redefining marriage are to be listened to and countered, we must ensure that our arguments are louder than those who wish to drown us out.

48 hours following the March for Marriage, I’ve decided to put thoughts of wedding venues and cakes (a Black Forrest gateau topped with a portrait of OITNB’s Alex Vause, if anyone’s asking) on the back burner.

For now, I’m taking things one step at a time – starting with ensuring that all my straight friends and family are registered to vote for the referendum next Spring, and doing my utmost to convince them to say yes to same-sex marriage.

© 2014 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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