On Friday 22nd of May Ireland is holding two votes.
One of them is to decide if we want to change the age you can become President of Ireland from 35 to 21, and the other which (obviously) is getting much more attention is whether to extend marriage to Same Sex couples.
I really feel passionate about the marriage referendum, I feel it is simply about equality, and not discriminating against any group of people. At the end of the day it's about inclusion - if people are so into marriage that they want to be part of the institution why wouldn't we want to include them.
The debate however has got very very intense over the last few weeks. We have a number of very vocal groups around Ireland who don't want to share marriage. They say that gay people have Civil Partnership so they should be happy with that and not want marriage - because marriage is just for a man and a woman. They also have been muddying the waters bringing up the topic of adoption and surrogacy which (a) have nothing to do with this referendum and (b) we are being informed by Child Protection organisations like ISPCC and Barnardos, and by Geoffrey Shannon who is an expert on adoption in Ireland that same sex marriage will not change the current process.
So based on all that was going on and being said in the media, while Enid and I were talking the good talk on Twitter and Facebook, we figured it was time to get out on the ground and take part in the canvassing. (Fair play Enid for suggesting it!)
We went out last Thursday for the first time ever and it was great. We were both matched up with someone who had done it before and off we set. It was great hearing from people who were definite Yes's, we politely thanked and walked away from any No's, and we talked to people who were undecided about what their concerns or questions were. I'd hope we've influenced some positively.
It was great meeting and chatting with all the other canvassers. Everyone was incredibly nice and POSITIVE which is lovely in this day and age.
This is the group Enid and I went out with on our first day. There's Enid on the left end of the flag. The canvass had finished in my estate so I just went straight home :-) but missed the photo :-(
On Monday I went out on my own as Enid was working late. There I am to the right of the flag in a red coat.
I couldn't believe my luck but it turned out that Rory O'Neill aka Panti Bliss was allocated to our group/area's canvass. He has been sent all over Dublin to a different area each night. Poor Enid was going mad that she missed him.
And finally we went out yesterday evening. We had nearly 80 people out canvassing!!! We split into three groups and the above was the group we were in. It was really great to finish on such a high with so many people out on the canvass. The organisers Roderic O'Gorman and TJ Clare should be very proud of themselves, they did a great job with the organising of the routes and the marshalling and directing.
Oh and most importantly it looks like 69/70% Yes in Dublin West of those who answered their door and spoke with us.
If you are reading this before you vote please get out and vote Yes. Without revealing too much personal information one of the people I was speaking with on one of the nights is a gay person with children. Their children see the awful No posters every day ("children deserve a mother and father" etc etc) it affects the children and makes them worry. Now if that isn't an argument for voting Yes I don't know what is.