Yesterday was 22nd May, we had a referendum, well two actually. One on lowering the age at which a person can stand for election as President and the other on marriage equality – allowing same sex couples to have civil marriage.
I’m writing this in a hurry as I’m heading to Dublin in a short while to attend the Countess Markievicz summer school, which is on women and equality. Its always a good day and I’m looking forward to it.
I always vote and take pride in so doing but I was never prouder to vote than yesterday. Even in my small rural town in north Meath there was a sense amongst some of us anyway that something was happening. People were talking about marriage equality in the supermarket, Yes Equality badges could be seen all over the place. It felt good, really good.
Then I started looking at social media and got very emotional, the #hometovote stories made me well up, just the sight of so many people coming home to vote because this issue meant so much to them. As the day went on and it became apparent that turnout was good, possibly even high by referendum standards, I felt a rising sense of excitement. Now I’m a news and politics junkie and watch election results come in but never feeling like this.
Then on Twitter yesterday evening seeing Des Bishop ferrying people around Dublin so they could get to vote, and seeing others all around the country doing the same, well it just gave me goosebumps. Taxi firms waiting to collect people at train and bus stations and taking them to the polls for free (ok yes marketing ploy maybe but it felt good!), watching to see would twitter user @KDamo get home to vote (he did) all of this combined to make me feel that something happened here yesterday. Something good, something positive. A step towards equality for all.
And that’s what I hope the most. That the marriage referendum will be passed and that the energies that have arisen around this are then used in all the other equality struggles in our country. But that is for another day. For today I will wait and watch and hope that its a YES, and even better a resounding YES.
Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life……… and hopefully we’ll continue to feel good!