Yes Equality, the campaign that led the win in Ireland’s marriage referendum, were awarded Community Group of the Year Award at People of the Year Awards on Saturday.
According to the ceremony’s organisers, Rehab, Yes Equality received the award “for their inspirational campaign which contributed enormously to a global advance in recognition of the rights of gay and lesbian couples”.
“Myself, Grainne Healy and Deirdre Duffy from GLEN, Marriage Equality and ICCL, as the three organisations that came together to establish Yes Equality, were delighted to pick up the award on behalf of everyone who worked with Yes Equality in the referendum,” says Brian Sheehan, Director of GLEN.
Yes Equality was made up of 70 groups in towns all across the country, with thousands of volunteers.
“Their tireless work, the work of the Yes Equality HQ team, and of all the partner organisations – LGBT groups, employers, trades unions, professional groups, students groups and other civil society groups – all, together, won such a remarkable result in the referendum,” said Sheehan. “It is on their behalf that we collected the award.”
Rehab acknowleged that the journey to marriage equality “started many years ago following the Norris v. Ireland European Court of Human Rights judgement in 1988”, which led to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland.
“There are many people who made this outcome possible,” Brian Sheehan concurs. “All of us who campaigned stood on the shoulders of those brave people who started out on the journey to equality 30 and more years ago, some of whom are no longer with us, and some of who are still campaigning for equality. The award is theirs too.
“In a real way, this people’s award is for the people of Ireland, who in their great generosity voted for LGBT people to become equal citizens in their own country, and in so doing, changed the lives of countless people all across the country.”
© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.