One year ago today, LGBT advocates and allies anxiously awaited as Ireland prepared to hold the first-ever national referendum on marriage equality.
The referendum, which was held on May 22, 2015, asked voters to approve language that would update Ireland’s constitution to state, “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with the law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.”
While the Irish LGBT community united to lead an unprecedented voter registration campaign and voter mobilization effort, HRC was proud to support and share our experiences fighting for equality with our Irish counterparts. HRC Global was on the ground in Ireland and HRC President Chad Griffin wrote an op-ed encouraging Irish Americans to reach out to their friends and family to vote in the referendum.
Additionally, HRC was proud to partner with the Irish coalition YES Equality, a campaign comprised of GLEN, Marriage Equality, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties. The campaign played an integral role in ensuring the "yes" vote on the referendum. HRC staff met with Irish advocates to share best practices and offer support for the campaign. Additionally, we released a new t-shirt and all net proceeds were donated to the campaign for public education on equality.
While momentum built in Ireland, thousands of people from around the country, major organizations, celebrities and big-name brands showed their support for loving, committed same-sex couples across social media.
When the referendum passed on May 22, Ireland became the 18th country to afford same-sex couples full marriage rights.
The third edition of HRC Global’s Equality Rising report highlights this remarkable victory as well as the ferocious violence LGBTQ people still face around the globe.
Stay tuned to HRC’s blog as we celebrate one year of marriage equality on the Emerald Isle.