Young Scots Send Letter of Support to Ireland ahead of Marriage Equality Referendum this Friday

"@LGBTYS We received you're letter of solidarity it means a lot to us. Thank you. #BeLonGToYES #MarRef" (Text and photograph tweeted to LGBT Youth Scotland from BeLonG To on Wednesday 20th of May when they received their letter)

Media Release: Wednesday 20th of May 2015

For Immediate Release

Ahead of Irelands Historic Referendum on Marriage Equality this Friday, LGBT Youth Scotland’s National Youth Council have sent a letter of support to Irish LGBT youth organisation BeLonG To. BeLonG To are part of the largest nationwide coalition of leading youth and children’s organisations campaigning for a yes vote in the Marriage Equality Referendum taking place across Ireland this Friday 22nd of May.  

Young people from LGBT Youth Scotland’s National Youth Council wrote:                 

“Dear Young People of BeLonG To,

We are members of the LGBT National Youth Council (NYC) supported by LGBT Youth Scotland. We are a group of young people from across Scotland who come together and campaign to share our voices and views. After the success of our equal marriage campaign last year we thought we would write you a letter to offer you support and give our reasons for backing your campaign.

In 2009, the NYC developed the M.E.2 campaign which was one of the first equal marriage campaigns in Scotland. Running the campaign made us feel more positive about the outcome and created a huge sense of support for and across the LGBT community. The feeling of solidarity and knowing that so many people were backing our cause was a huge source of support and happiness. With the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act being passed in Scotland in 2014, this was an overwhelming declaration of acceptance which we hope you in Ireland will gain too.

We feel there’s a new sense of confidence within the LGBT community and greater acceptance within the wider social community in Scotland.

Civil partnerships are a great first step towards equality, but now it should be about choice. It’s important that LGBT young people in Ireland should be able to choose to ask for someone’s hand in marriage if that’s what they feel is important to them. Different love and relationships should be celebrated at an equal level to ensure acceptance for everyone. 

We were really impressed to see Ireland leading the way in being the first country to hold a national referendum for marriage equality. We hope your friends, family and other citizens across Ireland come out in solidarity and support for you and vote Yes!

So on May 22nd, when you go to the polling stations, know that the LGBT young people across Scotland are with you.

Yours Sincerely,

The LGBT National Youth Council”

Fergus McMillan, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland said:

“It is heartening to see young people get active to show solidarity with their peers in Ireland at this important time.  Young Scots understand the importance of marriage equality in ensuring LGBT people are embraced as full members of their communities, with equal rights, and access to the same opportunities as other young people.

LGBT Youth Scotland wishes BeLong To and the people of Ireland every success in securing a yes vote on Friday.”

David Carroll, Executive Director of Belong To Said:

"Research indicates that the most common age in which a young person self-identifies as LGBT in Ireland is 12, and the most common age that they begin the process of coming out to others is 17. 

This Friday, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to change forever, what it means to be LGBT in Ireland. A 'Yes' vote will send a powerful message of inclusion to the hundreds of thousands of LGBT young people, and their families across the country. We owe it to them to secure a victory for equality on Friday. 

Young people have played a vital role in working towards Marriage Equality. Polling has consistently shown support for same sex marriage to be at over 90% among those under 30. 

We know that young people are also incredibly persuasive when it comes to talking to older relatives about voting for equality and we ask that they continue to have conversations with older relatives, friends and neighbours as the campaign draws to a close. 

Vote 'Yes on may 22nd!"


Notes to Editor:

1/ LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland: www.lgbtyouth.org.uk

2/LGBT Youth Scotland is a company limited by guarantee (No 244805) with charitable

status (SC024047). Registered at 40 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6J

3/ The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) National Youth Council (NYC) is a network of young people aged 13-25 across Scotland who represent their local youth group or area and are supported by LGBT Youth Scotland. More information at https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/LGBT_NYC

4/ BeLonG To is a national organisation in Ireland for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) young people, aged between 14 and 23. http://www.belongto.org/

5/ Images available upon request

6/ Press contact: Fergus McMillan available on 07718769066