A PROPOSAL to allow same-sex marriage in the North of Ireland was defeated this week – as voters in the south prepare to take part in a referendum on the issue.
The motion proposed by Sinn Féin, which called for civil marriage equality across the region, was defeated by just two votes on Monday, April 27, with 47 members of the Northern Ireland Assembly voting for it and 49 voting against.
Following the result Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said: “By their words and actions, too many of Northern Ireland’s politicians are making gay people second-class citizens in their own country.”
The results come in a week where celebrity backers and global businesses are throwing their weight behind the campaign for a yes vote in southern Ireland’s much-anticipated Marriage Equality Referendum on May 22.
Yesterday Mrs Brown’s Boys star Brendan Carroll added his name to an already bulging line-up of celebrities supporting the campaign.
“We all have to grow up a little bit now,” he says, in a message recorded as Mrs Brown from the Yes Equality organisation’s headquarters.
“Marriage isn’t easy, changing the law isn’t easy and changing attitudes is even harder but we can do it - we have done it before and the world didn’t end,” the popular fictional matriarch adds, before explaining, “I know some of you think it’s not right, but I can’t describe the joy I feel to see my son Rory having the same opportunity for happiness as everybody else’s son, that’s all I am asking for.”
The Dubliner signs off by calling on everyone to get out and vote, adding: “Every generation gets the chance to make a big change, you get your chance on May 22.”
World-famous ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s is also encouraging Irish people to vote yes in the upcoming referendum, having released a video of their own this month – with the help of some Irish celebrities.
Later this week the ice cream brand will kick off a nationwide 'YEStival', where they will travel to cities across Ireland to garner support for the Yes Equality campaign.
On stops planned in Cork, Mayo, Galway and Dublin over the next fortnight, the brand will offer a free scoop of ice cream for anyone who pledges to vote yes on May 22.
Elsewhere Booker prizewinning author Roddy Doyle was among the faces helping launch the Dun Laoghaire yes campaign, while former Ireland rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll, actor Colin Farrell and musical favourites Kodaline and The Rubberbandits all feature on the lengthy roll call of Irish celebrities who have publicly pledged their support for same-sex marriage.
And as supporters of the yes and no campaigns continue to pound Ireland’s pavements in the lead up to the referendum, here in England the postal system has just become gay-marriage friendly.
Following a number of complaints received about its online postal service, Royal Mail bosses have finally implemented changes which allow customers to address packages or mail to a ‘Mr and Mr’ or ‘Mrs and Mrs’.
The complaint was first lodged by Ruth Tidmarsh, who was unable to address a package to her married lesbian friends in the Midlands.
“I am pleased we have nudged Royal Mail into the 21st century,” she said this week.
Watch Mrs Brown’s call to action for same-sex marriage here