I’m usually an early to bed, early to rise girl. But tonight I can’t sleep. There’s nowhere in the world I’d rather be right now than in Dublin. On Dame Street this evening the scenes of jubilation were reminiscent of the night the Berlin Wall came down. A wall that blighted the landscape and divided families. A worldwide symbol of control, entrapment and despair.
That night, scenes of a city’s liberation were broadcast all over the world, and the whole world rejoiced. What happened in that one corner of the globe raised so much hope in so many hearts. It wasn’t long before those similarly imprisoned in other places won their freedom.
Yesterday the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of marriage equality. In our conviction that all people should be treated equally, we flocked to the polls. We took action to show the kind of country we want to live in. As a people we demonstrated what our highest value is; love.
Yes, the referendum was about marriage equality. It was also about much more. Ours is a land where many have suffered much for love, for who they’ve loved, for the expression of their love. The result of this vote marks an essential coming out for our country. A coming out of a dark age of repression, hatred, shame and fear. It affirms our human right, whatever shaped bodies we’re in, to love freely, openly and fully as equals. Here, love reigns supreme.
A wall came down in Ireland today. A wall of intolerance, discrimination and the old order lies in ruins at our feet. It’s a great day for our country. It’s a great day for the world. Despite all the wars, the killing, the unrest in many parts of the planet; on this little corner of the earth today, love won. That’s something we can and should all be very proud of.