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The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has been hailed for its success in its “Vote for Love” campaign after Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage via public vote.
The referendum took place on 23 May, with a turnout of over 60.5 per cent and 62 per cent voting in favour.
USI’s campaign, which was launched in January, claimed that over 90 per cent of Irish students were in favour of marriage equality.
The national body is said to represent over 350,000 students from 35 universities and polytechnics across the country.
While national polls showed that 80 per cent of the population was in favour of marriage equality, older generations were a cause for concern for the bill’s passage.
As a result, Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union launched a campaign, dubbed “RingYourGranny”, encouraging students to reach out to elderly in the hope of broadening support.
Other student unions canvassed, handed out ice cream, gave campus speeches and marched in attempts to raise student awareness and encourage voter turnout. USI even created an app offering tailored transport advice to students who had to travel to their home districts to vote.
USI Equality Officer Laura Harmon said that “students feel very strongly about this issue and there is a clear hunger. It is fantastic that there is such a clear mandate from the membership for USI to campaign for marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples.”
Harmon said that “students can be rightly proud of the tremendous contribution they have made to the success of this historic marriage equality referendum campaign.”