UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU), the Union of Students Ireland (USI) and UCD Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Society (LGBT) held a ‘Rainbow Wedding’ demonstration in front of the Department of An Taoiseach yesterday at noon. The mock marriages were a call on the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, to publicly declare his stance on marriage equality.
The ceremony, which consisted of two same sex marriages and one heterosexual marriage was officiated by the President of USI, John Logue and featured representatives from UCDSU, UCD LGBT, the auditors of the L&H and Lawsoc, and a number of youth activists.
UCDSU Campaigns and Communications Officer, Paddy Guiney, stated: “The whole point of this has been a promotion, a stunt if you will, before the big march that we are trying to gear up for on August 12th”.
The event also served as the release of UCDSU’s Marriage Equality Survey, taken by over nine hundred students. It revealed that that 92 per cent of the students surveyed would support full equal marriage rights. Logue stated: “We believe there are people who are suffering immeasurably because of the lack of equality. There are 169 differences between civil partnership and civil marriage; if we are happy to live in a country like that, well that is a disgrace. I am calling on Enda Kenny today to make a stance on this issue before people have to go on suffering for longer.”
USI launched their year-long campaign for marriage equality at the rainbow wedding, having received a uanimous mandate from delegates at National Congress to fight for full marriage equality. Their next step will be their participation in the LGBT Noise March for Marriage. UCDSU President, Rachel Breslin stated: “I think the survey and this are part of a bigger picture and that’s towards the March for Marriage… We’re trying to get as many students as we can to that, as there hasn’t traditionally been a big student presence because it’s in the summer but especially at this time when it’s such a critical moment in the fight for LGBT equality… I don’t really feel that there has ever been a time like this where it’s been the real prospect of change and if we push hard enough we will achieve it and that’s what this is part of.”
USI plan to continue the campaign by lobbying TDs, creating an “ally” scheme with non LGBT students and distributing wristbands across campuses in September. Logue stated: “It’s a sign of solidarity to say this is an LGBT campus and we are in favour of the idea of marriage equality and we will do whatever it takes to get that.”
by Aoife Valentine and Jack Walsh