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Could a David Norris Day be on the cards?

The Yes campaign thanked voters today for passing the same-sex marriage referendum.

IMG_1889 Paul Higgins, Grainne Healy, Richard Lucey and Brian Sheehan at the Yes campaign press conference today. Source: Christina Finn

THE COUNTRY HAVE woken up to a “kinder, more accepting Ireland” according to Brian Sheehan, the co-director of the Yes Equality campaign.

Following yesterday’s historic day, when Ireland voted in favour of same-sex marriage by over 62%, Sheehan said the nation are a more “smilier, happier people” today because they have given the LGBT community a new sense of belonging in this country.

Thank you 

Speaking at the Yes Equality press conference in Dublin this afternoon, he thanked voters who turned up at the polls.

He told the room, filled with media, campaigners and members of the LGBT community, that yesterday’s result didn’t just change our Constitution, but re-shaped the Republic in which we live.

yes Richard Lucey and Paul Higgins at the Yes campaign press conference today. Source: Christina Finn

Sheehan said it was difficult to predict how many more there will be as a result of yesterday’s result, but he said it is expected that many of the couples who entered civil partnerships or who have been married abroad, may want to re-marry here in Ireland.

Grainne Healy from the Yes Equality campaign said it was a “transformative day” and a “turning point” in Irish history that will allow so many gay people “fulfill their full potential”.

“One question was asked, and it was answered with a resounding yes and we are all the better for it,” she said. “I thank you sincerely.”

Speaking about the future generations of Ireland, Ailbhe Smyth from the Marriage Equality group said “the future looks so much more open and positive for them now”.

She said that it was over ten years ago that they began working on making same-sex marriage a reality in Ireland.

“Yesterday we achieved it, she said, to resounding applause from the crowd.

Source: Christina Finn/YouTube

“The Irish people have shown grace and generosity in their resounding endorsement of marriage equality. Finally, Irish LGBT people will grow up knowing they are cherished and equal, and this is of enormous significance,” she added.

“I have never felt more proud waking up today and thinking of the enormity of yesterday,” said Mark Kelly from the Irish Civil Liberties group.

Legislation 

He said he would be looking for the “swift enacting” of the legislation to make same-sex marriage legal.

“When Cork lit up on the screen at Dublin Castle I think people thought they could instantly get married. It’s not quite as simple as that.”

unnamed (5) Brian Sheehan

He said another big vote was coming up next year and he hoped the political parties would tackle other inequalities in Irish society. He said the discrimination against LGBT teachers in Ireland whose lifestyle does not “fit in” to the ethos of some schools has to dealt with.

“That needs to be gone by this summer,” he said.

Kieron Rose from the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) said Ireland had sent message around the globe yesterday.

He said it was strange to look back at how far Ireland had come in such a short time. He said when GLEN was founded in the 1980s, Ireland was a bleak place for lesbian and gay people.

“It was the innate goodness of Irish people, and our appeal to their sense of fairness and goodwill which ultimately resulted in the Yes vote. We are eternally grateful to people for coming on the journey to equality with us. We asked the Irish people if its LGBT citizens belonged in Ireland and they resoundingly said Yes.”

One proposal that went down well today came from a canvasser in the crowd who suggested that the 22 May should be annually declared as a family day where people from all communities could gather together to remember the historic day.

“David Norris Day,” said Kelly, with Sheehan joking that it is their next campaign.

Related: How did your constituency vote in the marriage referendum?

Related: Ireland has voted Yes to same-sex marriage>

AS IT HAPPENED: It’s official – Ireland says YES to same-sex marriage>

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