Students in NUI Galway have voted yes to their Students’ Union supporting marriage equality in Ireland following protests held at the university last week.
Last Wednesday, Gardaí were called to the University regarding a protest between students and members of the university’s Christian Union Society. The sit-in protest with over 300 participants started in response to the Christian Union Society’s campaign for ‘no’ vote in the referendum.
Anti-same-sex marriage posters and pamphlets were distributed, some comparing homosexuality to pedophilia and incest.
Despite the standoff, the majority of students who went to ballot voted for the union to support marriage equality.
“The turn-out for elections saw a 400 per cent increase from elections last year. Out of 2328 votes, the proposition got 2214 votes and won by over 95 per cent,” said Seán Kearns, President of NUIG SU.
“It has been fantastic to see such acceptance of diversity on our campus and our students came out and voted in huge numbers. What we saw over the last few days on our campus is that students do have strong views and are willing to stand up for them.”
Director the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), Tiernan Brady says that he agrees with freedom of expression but also respect for those with different opinions.
“Both sides have to be careful over what they say, especially with younger people coming to terms with their sexuality. Cruel and isolating language is not where modern Ireland is heading,” he said.
Last year, ‘IFES Ireland: The Christian Union’ disaffiliated with the NUIG Christian Union for a failure to engage with them on a number of concerning issues and said that they should refrain from using the name Christian Union.
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