A moving new video encourages young voters in Ireland to register by November 25 in order to vote in support of equality in next May's referendum on civil marriage for same-sex couples.
"You can shed the shackles of the past," a young, husky-voiced narrator says on the ad's intimately engineered soundtrack, which also includes a crecendo of piano notes and string chords. "And step into a brighter future."
Ireland's steady march toward equality for LGBT people essentially began in 1993, when the nation decriminalized being gay. From that moment on, organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and BeLonG To, as well as equality-minded allies in government and society — and even some in the Irish Roman Catholic Church — won a series of hard-fought victories. Among those wins was a ban on employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation — protection the U.S. has still yet to enact on a nationwide level.
As in other parts of the Western world, the past two years have seen a marked increase in the pace of legal victories for greater LGBT equality in Ireland. In 2011, the Republic of Ireland legally recognized civil unions for same-sex couples, and earlier this month, one woman finally recieved a favorable conclusion to her decades-long court battle to secure accurate government recognition of her gender. In fact, Dr. Lydia Foy's win at Ireland's High Court could mean that a bill to extend such recognition to all transgender people in Ireland may be introduced in the coming year.
Although politicians earlier this year discussed the possibility of updating Ireland's adoption laws to let same-sex couples adopt children, adoptions by unmarried couples are still illegal in Ireland. However, individual parents may adopt children in some cases.
Ongoing campaigns by GLEN, ICCL and BeLonG To — all of which helped fund and produce the video below — have led advocates to be optimistic that they'll secure a landslide victory for marriage equality when Irish voters consider the referendum next May.
But referenda in Ireland have a history of unpredictable results because of a "combination of low turnouts and powerful religious lobbies," according to U.K. LGBT outlet PinkNews.
And that's precisely why equality advocates have aimed the new ad at young voters, who are more likely to favor same-sex marriage than older voters in the still deeply Catholic country.
"Young people have a pivotal role to play in the forthcoming referendum and shaping the future of Irish society," BeLonG To chairperson Anna Quigley told PinkNews. "However despite extremely positive polling results indicating a potential positive outcome in the referendum, we cannot be complacent. Our work starts here and now by ensuring that every young person is registered to vote next spring, as without them we cannot win."
The new video serves as the launch of the "Yes Equality" campaign, organizd by GLEN, ICCL, BeLonG To, and Marriage Equality Ireland. Titled "It's in Your Hands! Register to vote for Civil Marriage Equality," the video comes two months after a wildly popular spoof calling out fear-mongering about same-sex marriage. That video, called Armagayddon, quickly went viral.
Watch the inspiring video that hopes to motivate young voters to turn out and support marriage equality in Ireland below: