Sunday’s episode of Reeling in the Years had the nation in bits as an emotional episode was capped off with the Marriage Equality referendum.
The sixth episode of the current series took us back to the not-so-distant past of 2015. It was a difficult episode that reminded us of the horrific Carrickmines halting site fire, the Berkley balcony tragedy, as well as the terrible Paris terror attacks.
It was during the final segment that the memories of the 22nd May 2015 came flooding back. The pain, joy and commitment that went into the gruelling campaign, the indignity of having to ask the majority for the rights of a minority, and the unbridled happiness when it was achieved.
— Clodagh (@GreenIssac) May 16, 2021
Missed tonight’s #ReelingInTheYears but seeing the emotional response to rewatching the marriage equality referendum makes me excited to watch it back with my girlfriend remembering how much it mattered to closeted me in 2015 🌈 pic.twitter.com/D9WzE7MLP7
— Orlaith Condon (@OrlaithCondon) May 16, 2021
That wasn’t a battle, it was a public embarrassing and chaotic damaging exercise to say we’re equal. The trauma of that campaign will be carried by every queer activist for decades.
— 𝓛𝓾𝓴𝓮 (@TheDukeLuke) May 16, 2021
“I was in no way prepared for the Marriage Equality segment on #ReelingInTheYears. I’m in tatters,” Gogglebox’s John Sullivan wrote on Twitter. “I’ll never forget Newstalk calling it at 9:40am, screaming at my friend that WE WON and just breaking down crying on the stairs.”
Another user commented: “Ireland being the first country in the world to pass Equal Marriage by popular vote is hands down this country’s finest moment in my lifetime.”
— Caolán Mc Aree (@Caolanmcaree) May 16, 2021
For others it also stirred up some of the tough memories of the campaign as we saw clips of the infamous debates and the ‘No’ side’s disgusting posters that went up on lampposts across the country.
“I will never forgive the No campaign for those horrible posters that implied those in a same-sex relationship couldn’t be parents. #ReelingInTheYears,” @ronronzo said on Twitter.
#ReelingInTheYears while the #marref had a happy result, can never forget that we asked a minority group to ask the majority for the same rights. That ever single no voter didn't just say no, they spat bile and it really hurt. Took months to recover from it.
— Dub8Lady (@DubLoony) May 16, 2021
Marriage equality was monumental, however don’t forget same-sex couples that are parents are still struggling to get parental birth cert rights. More progress is needed across the board #ReelingInTheYears
— Brandon Colman (@BrandonColman_) May 16, 2021
We at GCN would also have loved to see Reeling in the Years acknowledge the momentous Gender Recognition Act which came into force in 2015 and was a vital moment in the country’s LGBTQ+ history. It allowed a citizen of Ireland to legally change their gender on government documents through self-determination. Ireland was one of only four countries in the world to allow this at the time.
However, the scenes in Dublin Castle where campaigners such as David Norris and Ann Louise Gilligan and thousands of others got to rejoice in the history they had just made will never fail to move us.
As the sixth anniversary of the referendum occurs later this week, it is also important to remember that full equality has not yet been achieved in Ireland. Many LGBTQ+ parents still do not have their parenthood legally recognised. The fight for equality continues in 2021.
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