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LGBT Noise organiser Max Kryzanowski gives his opinions as debates finalise.

 

Max Kryzanowski      Max Kryzanowski, LGBT Noise organiser, sourced by Jack Popeley

As the marriage equality debate moves into its final phase ahead of the referendum next month, each side is refining its arguments in a hope to change the minds of those who haven’t made them yet.

Recent polls show that the Yes vote has dropped, but it still holds a vast majority at 76%.

“It’s to be expected.  The history of socially progressive referenda in Ireland is that they very often start with a huge lead and that gets whittled away as the date gets closer,” stated Max Krzyzanowski, LGBT Noise organiser.

However, he is confident that it is ‘likely’ to pass. “I would love it to be passed with a thumping majority because of what that says to the young LGBT people in this country, but also to older LGBT people in Ireland, who never managed to come out or to find a partner.”

If passed, this referendum will see gay people afforded the same rights to marriage as straight people.

There were originally some groups, including LGBT Noise, that were fighting a referendum. They believe marriage is not a constitutional issue.

They argued that a fundamental principle of democracy is that the majority should not vote on the rights of the minority. However, as Max said, “The up-side to the referendum is that national conversation is taking place.”

LGBT Noise was the first organisation set up to tackle marriage equality.

“LGBT Noise has organised the March for Marriage – there are six of them – and brought thousands and thousands of people out onto the streets and, in doing so, has shown the body politic that this is an issue that consistently, over the years, animates people and people care about it.”

Equality March                                   Equality March sourced by Jack Popeley

In any referendum campaign, it is crucial to get different areas of a society on board. The Yes campaign has managed to attract business groups, unions, students, and civil society organisation. “This is the first time ever that all of these groups have got behind a referendum campaign,” said Max.

As a gay man who grew up in Ireland, Max Krzyzanowski has seen the full campaign from the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1993 to now. Because of this, Max went on to say how he understands the stigma and oppression that has been prominent in Irish society over the years.

“There is no question that whether the laws of your country consider you to be lesser, consider you to be some sort of problem, or your relationship some alternative to actual love, impacts on you and your sense of self-worth.”

“We have a society that ranks human beings with white, straight, Christian males first. This is absurd; the worth of a person is unrelated to their sexuality, gender identity, skin colour or religion and our laws should reflect that,” he continued.

When asked about the next big issue facing the LGBT community in Ireland, Max offered, “There are a lot of them. The one that’s really big at the moment is gender recognition for Trans people and, to be blunt, a complete hash of this legislation has been made.”

Just recently, European Union member Malta passed gender recognition legislation that, according to Max, is well done.

However, he believes the Irish version leaves a lot to be desired.

“The Irish legislation contains a bizarre statutory declaration where one must declare that they intend to live this way for the rest of their life. It’s semantic and moral chaos, which is why it’s another big issue and there will be fights to reform that legislation once this referendum is over.”

The date has been set for 22nd May 2015 and one way or another this referendum has the potential to change Irish society. At a time when homophobic laws are being introduced all over the world, the Irish people have been asked to take a stand on this issue.

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