The Union of Students in Ireland launched its campaign for ‘yes’ votes in the upcoming marriage equality referendum, describing the issue as “the most important civil rights issue of our time”.
USI officially launched the Students for Marriage Equality campaign, along with the website voteforlove.ie on Tuesday January 20th at the Dublin City Council offices.
The campaign adopted the slogan #MakeGráTheLaw from Maynooth Students’ Union, which proved popular among students as it trended on Twitter that day.
Describing this referendum as a once-in-a-generation opportunity, USI President Laura Harmon said that, “a lot of young people want to be part of history”.
“I see this as the biggest equality issue of our time and I think it’s really easy to see where your vote translates. If you vote yes or no, you’re either allowing or disallowing two people who love each other to have the right to get married, the same as everyone else in society. I think it’s something that really resonates with students,” Harmon told The College View.
Harmon said students are passionate about marriage equality and USI wants to provide them with a platform to have their voices heard.
“We’re going to be working to ensure the youth voice is prominent in the media. We’re giving a platform to students who want to get married themselves, students that aren’t actually coupled and students who have LGBT parents,” said Harmon.
USI set up a Facebook page and is sharing blog posts from students on its website and social media accounts.
THE USI President believes large numbers of students will turn out to vote in May, despite the fact that students are one of the demographics least likely to vote.
USI registered over 20,000 students to vote last November and plans to add to this number.
“We were overwhelmed with the enthusiasm students have for this campaign,” said Harmon.
“All across the country, young people are very much in favour of this issue. Over ninety per cent of students are in favour (of marriage equality). We have a unanimous man base from our membership campaign on this issue,” she added.
“One of the main aspects of the campaign is registration and mobilising students to get to the polling stations on the day of the vote itself. We registered 20,000 students nationally last November and in the coming weeks we’re going to be doing the second phase of our voter registration campaign. We’ll be having members of the Gardai on campuses stamping forms. We’ll be looking in to getting transport deals for students as well,” she said.
USI, which has an equality policy, describes itself as ‘an inclusive organisation that values equality and diversity.’
Harmon said “USI has a long history of being involved in these issues and it’s something we’re very proud of and the membership is very keen to play their part.”
Image Credit: usi.ie