Students’ Union LGBT* Rights Officer Rob Cas fully expects next week’s Marriage Equality Referendum to pass. The vote on marriage equality is being held alongside a referendum on UCC’s continued affiliation with the Union of Students Ireland on the 26th and 27th of January.
Although Student Council has already passed a motion to ensure the SU lobbies for marriage equality in the national referendum that’s set for some time in May, a referendum of the student body would supersede this motion. This means should the vote fail the SU would not lobby for Marriage Equality, while a ‘Yes’ vote would help to increase publicity for the ongoing campaign.
The USI will lobby for marriage equality regardless of how UCC votes in either of the scheduled on campus referenda.
When asked about what was planned in the run up to the on campus referendum, Cas stated that a word of mouth campaign that framed the issue in human terms was planned. “We’ll be telling our friends to tell their friends to tell their friends, come out vote and support this. The way we’re going to win this and the national referendum is by communicating human stories. It’s not a referendum based on an abstract technical law, it’s based on the life of your friends and family. That’s what we’re driving home.”
He also stated that while no opposition for this referendum has made itself known on campus yet, he was not expecting any to materialise; “Even in national polls we can see there’s a support level of 85-90% in favour of marriage equality among students so when we look at this coming referendum on campus we can fully suspect that it’ll pass handsomely.”
His only concern, stated in November’s Student Council when opposing the motion to hold the referendum, was about student complacency: “The only danger is that with that level of support we have to worry about complacency and whether or not students will look at that support rate and think, ‘you know what, we don’t have to actually vote on the day that matters.’”
A recent campus.ie survey found that over 92% of UCC students were in favour of marriage equality, with several RedC polls finding similar levels of support within the general public, with 76% stating they would vote in favour. In addition, during the 2013-14 academic year, votes on marriage equality held in IT Tralee, Trinity College and NUIG resulted in students voting overwhelmingly in favour.
The Express was not made aware of any ‘No’ campaign by the time of going to print.
Image by: UCC LGBT