Gay Primary Source

Thursday, May 28, 2015

UN Head Lauds Irish Vote

“… And of course, Ireland has just become the first country to grant same-sex marital rights through a national referendum. I was not here at Dublin Castle on Saturday night, but I saw the pictures of the jubilant crowd that gathered outside when the official count was announced. And I listened to interviews in which several people talked movingly about their experiences with bullying, discrimination and life in the shadows.

Ireland voted on marriage, but in the process you have also decided to fully include members of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community in the life of this nation. The United Nations will continue to speak out, including through the Free & Equal campaign. You don’t have to be LGBT to care about LGBT rights; you only have to care about equality, fairness and human dignity. Those values are certainly part of the Irish identity.

As Secretary-General, from day one, I have declared that I will make the United Nations the best workplace for LGBT people to work. At that time, these people were working in the shadows. They were very cautious. When I invited the representatives of LGBT staff, they refused to take a picture with me. They were the first in the world who refused to take a picture with me - you’d be surprised. Everybody wants to take a picture with me! I asked why? Why are you afraid? [They said] because our photos will be put on a website. They didn’t want to be identified. So I agreed. I promised that I will keep the photo to myself and I’d only give it to [them] without publicizing it. As time went by, because they were encouraged, they made a calendar - a 12-page calendar, one year - putting in their photos with me. Every month, there were different photos. So they feel that their rights and human dignity are protected. Now for the first time again this last year I changed my administrative bulletin that those same-sex married couples will be given the same financial entitlements. That was historic. You may not know how hard I [fought]. There was serious fighting within the General Assembly. Some Member States submitted a draft resolution to reverse, to kill my decision. Their argument was that I was acting beyond my own authority. Fortunately, that resolution was defeated by the majority of the Member States. In fact, I did this first before you had your national referendum! So I’m proud that the United Nations is leading this campaign.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, May 25, 2015.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Ireland Votes For Same-Sex Marriage

"Today Ireland made history.

The first country in the world to vote for equal marriage. I welcome that and thank all those who voted yesterday. In the privacy of the ballot box they made a public statement.

With today's Yes vote we have disclosed who we are - a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people.

Yes to inclusion.
Yes to generosity.
Yes to love, and
Yes to equal marriage.

I know that for tens of thousands of couples and their families, the past 24 hours were almost a vigil at the end of a long journey. Would their fragile and deeply personal hopes be realised?

Would a majority of people, in this our Republic, stand with them and stand up for them so that they can live in our shelter and no longer in our shadow?

That having come out to us we could now come out for them - and do it with a single word, a solitary syllable - Yes - marked with an X.

Today they have their answer. The people have answered the call of families and friends, of neighbours and new acquaintances.

Of Jack O’Rourke and Edel Tierney, Finian Curran and Allie Kershaw and Jerry, Leo, Pat and so many others. It was their stories and their voices that inspired the hearts and minds of the Irish people.

Our people have truly answered Ireland's Call.

The referendum was about inclusiveness and equality, about love and commitment being enshrined in the constitution. For a significant proportion who voted against the amendment it was because of genuinely held views which are to be respected.

The decision makes every citizen equal and will strengthen the institution of marriage for all existing and future marriages. All people now have an equal future to look forward to.

So – the people went to the polls.
It passed.
The answer is YES.
Yes to their future.
Yes to their love.
Yes to their equal marriage.
That yes is heard loudly across the living world as a sound of pioneering leadership of our people and hopefully across the generations of gay men and women born as we say, before their time.

The people have spoken.

They have said yes.

Ireland – thank you."

Taoiseach Enda Kenny (Irish Leader), May 23, 2015.