Delight, relief and excitement followed the announcement of the marriage referendum result for Sligo-based student Kathryn Nea.
Kathryn and her partner Amée Dunne are both studying in St Angela’s college in Sligo and were vocal members of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) ‘YES’ vote campaign.
“We are absolutely over the moon. It still hasn’t fully sunk in yet but we are really delighted,” Kathryn told the Sligo Weekender.
The simple message of the ‘Yes’ campaign to pare down the issue to a vote for equality was something that Kathryn felt swung the vote.
“I have always felt that everyone is equal and everyone should have the same rights as everyone else. It [Yes to Equality] really highlighted the campaign and showed during the campaign that we were not all equal,” Kathryn commented.
On Saturday as results came in from around the country, Kathryn admitted that she had for the first time begun to feel she was equal to others in heterosexual relationships.
“When the tallies started to come in I felt something within me for the first time which was that I was really equal. I felt that the people of Ireland had come together for an equality issue and that is what swung their decision when they went into the vote on Friday. On Saturday I felt I could walk with my head held high and it was an amazing feeling. Equality was a massive, massive component of that.” Although all the major political parties were encouraging a Yes vote, for Kathryn, the referendum on same sex marriage transcended party politics.
“It was not a political issue. I think it was more of a social issue. It was about equal rights and it gave families an opportunity to sit down and talk about equality and in that regard it opened up dialogue between the younger and older generations to speak about it,” she said.
Before last Friday’s vote Kathryn was nervous, however this week she feels that it is time for her and Amée to begin planning for their life together.
“Last week was such an emotional week. We were canvassing and had an amazing response to it. But then last week Amée and I were walking down Mail Coach Road and we seen the posters for the No side and it was difficult to look at some of it,” Kathyrn said.
For Kathryn her attentions will now turn to marrying Amée, whom she hopes to marry in her hometown of Mullingar in September, 2016.
From the Sligo Yes to Equality branch, Chris MacManus was also celebrating:
“Yes Equality Sligo are delighted with the outcome of the referendum, both locally and across the state and want to thank everybody in the County who came out and voted Yes last Friday. We knocked on over ten thousand doors and engaged with many thousands of Sligo people in towns and villages across Sligo.”
Sligo town voted through the referendum with a total of 57.6 percent in favour of Yes to 42.4 in favour of No.
Meanwhile Sligo County carried the referendum with 53.2 in favour of Yes and 46.8 in favour of No.
The overall Sligo results were 54.2 YES, 45.8 NO.