The Marriage Bill 2015, which provides for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples passed into law today. Averil’s speech in the Seanad welcoming the passage of the bill is below.
Senator Averil Power: “I too wish to add my voice to the voice of celebration in the House today as the Seanad passes the Marriage Bill 2015. I thank everyone who campaigned for a “Yes” vote in the referendum. I pay particular credit and tribute to the leaders of the Yes Equality campaign who are with us in the Gallery today. I thank the leaders of the Yes Equality campaign for their leadership, determination and unrelenting positivity during what was at times a difficult campaign. They truly inspired a nation and changed our country for the better. We can all be really grateful for that. The influence of the marriage equality result on 23 May and the “Yes” vote goes far beyond the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. It was an incredible day for Ireland as a whole and a victory for tolerance, inclusion, happiness and everything that is good. I thank them sincerely for that.
I thank everyone who campaigned and canvassed, especially the thousands of Yes Equality volunteers who knocked on doors throughout the country. Many of them did so for the first time, shared their personal stories and encouraged people to vote “Yes”. They showed great bravery to do that. Many people told me it was as if they were coming out over and over to strangers and that this was a difficult thing to do on their part, but they did it anyway. The ownership that ordinary people took of this campaign, of their future and of our future as a country was remarkable.
It was a true privilege for me to work with the Yes Equality people on the campaign. It was probably the most valuable thing I have done to date. I thank them for the opportunity to have shared that journey with them. I am delighted to be a Member of this House and to be in the Seanad today as we pass this Bill into law.”