Taoiseach Enda Kenny passionately underscored his support for marriage equality yesterday, saying “Marriage equality is as good for our value as it is for our values”. His comments were made on the same day a new statement from the Irish Constitutional Convention was released claiming the  Catholic Church has threatened to stop performing legal marriages.

The Taoiseach’s comments were made at a high-profile meeting of leaders in the Irish technology sector who have come together to support a Yes vote in the May 22nd poll. As well as underlining the strong business case for a yes vote on 22nd May, the Taoiseach remarked on the unique opportunity facing the Irish public in May:“May 22nd is a rare opportunity to vote for something as unquantifiable and transformative as love […] I hope the Irish people open their hearts and vote Yes.”

Yes Equality Grainne Healy said:

“Yes Equality welcomes the Taoiseach’s re-affirmation of his support for marriage equality. We also very much welcome the strong link he has highlighted between greater equality and greater prosperity in Ireland. Continued success in business depends on being able to attract, nurture and retain the very best people. This can only be achieved in a working environment and a country where everyone is valued equally. Enabling loving, committed couples to be civilly married, regardless of their sexual orientation will contribute to a stronger economy and a better Ireland.”

Yes Equality are today launching their first billboard at an outdoor event on Merrion Square. The bill board describes Ireland in 5 words, ‘Loving’ ‘Equal’ ‘Fair’ ‘Generous’ and ‘Inclusive’, but reminds the electorate that only one word is needed on May 22nd: YES.

The Yes Equality spokesperson added “The referendum on May 22nd is about one thing only, extending civil marriage equality. The people of Ireland have the opportunity to give equal rights to all the citizens of Ireland, a truly momentous opportunity for the electorate.”

Healy continued, “The words on the billboard describe Ireland and Irish people: ‘Loving’ ‘Equal’ ‘Fair’ ‘Generous’ & ‘Inclusive’ and they also describe the journey Irish people have been on towards greater acceptance of their lesbian and gay family members and friends. Our campaign seeks to build on this journey to achieve full and equal citizenship for lesbian and gay people. These words are also reflective of the tone of the Yes campaign.

Healy said, “The backbone of our campaign is supporting engagement in conversations all across the country. We hope the billboard prompts people to talk about marriage equality. If people have questions, we want to hear them. Equally, if people wish to talk about their hopes and dreams in an Ireland where marriage equality is realised, we’d love to hear from them too.”

Healy, concluded, “The Constitutional status of marriage will remain unchanged if Ireland votes yes on May 22nd. The only difference is that Ireland will be a more equal and fair society for all its citizens. ”

The Yes Equality campaign has been established by GLEN, Marriage Equality and the ICCL, which have been working for equality for LGBT people for many years. The three organisations have been working together since successfully encouraging the Convention on the Constitution to propose a marriage equality referendum.

The launch of the new billboard campaign

A statement to the Irish Constitutional Convention released yesterday ahead of the new billboard campaign claims that the Catholic Church has threatened to stop performing legal marriages.

The statement reads: “It is important to note that in Ireland the Church and State co-operate closely in the solemnisation of marriages and that in excess of 70% of marriages in the Republic of Ireland are celebrated by couples choosing the Christian celebration of marriage with both elements taking place within the same ceremony.

“Any change to the definition of marriage would create great difficulties and in the light of this if there were two totally different definitions of marriage the Church could no longer carry out the civil element.”