Ireland decides on month for equal marriage referendum

irelandThe Irish referendum on equal marriage will take place in May 2015, it has been announced. Ireland's Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Joan Burton confirmed the news yesterday evening (December 16), saying the vote was a sign of the country's "progress", The Guardian reports. "The fact that this referendum is now to take place is a mark of the progress that has taken place in this country in recent years and decades, and indicates the extent to which attitudes to lesbian and gay people have changed," Burton said in Government Buildings. A gay member of the main coalition partner Fine Gael, Jerry Buttimer said that with the date set, the hard work for campaigners starts now. "As a gay man and member of Fine Gael, I am immensely proud that this referendum has been brought forward by this Fine Gael/ Labour Government," the representative for Cork South Central said. "However the hard work is only starting now." He added: "We must be fully committed to this campaign and leave no stone unturned in explaining the importance of a yes vote. I truly believe the referendum will be passed and that Ireland will be lauded across the world as a leader in social justice and equality." The Catholic Church in Ireland is already campaigning for a 'No' vote, saying earlier this month (December) that equal marriage would be a "grave injustice". Last month, Colin Farrell wrote an emotional open letter asking his countrymen to vote 'Yes' in the referendum, saying that it was "insane" that his gay brother was forced to leave the country in order to marry his partner - read his letter in full here. More stories: Read nine-year-old girl’s letter to her gay teacher Meet the footballers stripping off to save their team...