Marriage Equality Pioneer Ann Louise Gilligan Has Lecture Hall Named In Her Honour

DCU has named a lecture hall after professor Ann Louise Gilligan, marriage equality campaigner and late partner of Katherine Zappone.

Ann Louise Gilligan and Katherine Zappone at Dublin Castle after marriage equality referendum results were announced.

Dublin City University has named a lecture hall after the late Ann Louise Gilligan, the beloved marriage equality campaigner and wife to children’s minister Katherine Zappone. Gilligan passed away last year after a brief illness.

Zappone was in attendance at the naming ceremony yesterday in DCU’s St Patrick’s College campus, and said she hopes that students spending time in the hall are encouraged by her late wife’s “words, her life and her legacy”.

Zappone addressed those attending the ceremony, saying, “Ann Louise adored to teach.”

She added, “She was at her happiest when she was teaching – children, young people, adults, men, women, and yes dogs too.

“She would often tell the story of herself as a young girl, walking up and down her road to gather any children interested to join her back at home, where she would set up to teach them whatever might be topical for the day. This was her idea of fun.”

“She wanted nothing more than that her students and the children they taught would become free through love.

Zappone also wrote on Twitter, “[An] incredible evening of joyful memories…naming of Ann Louise Gilligan Lecture Theatre…Thank You and many dear friends who gathered to celebrate…”

Zappone and Gilligan were among the most prominent activists when it came to campaigning for marriage equality in Ireland.

The couple initially married in Canada in 2003 and urged the Revenue Commissioner to recognise them as a married couple. The tax authority reported that they were “confused by their situation” and turned them down.

Although the couple did not win when they had their day in court, their case was the foundation of the movement for same-sex marriage in Ireland.

The couple first met in Boston in 1983 when they were both completing their doctorate degrees in theology.

Yesterday’s naming ceremony was organised by DCU’s Women in Leadership initiative, and, according to The Times, the university is naming half its buildings in honour of leading women in science and education.

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