herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

'Poster row couple are delighted we know they’d vote ‘Yes’'

The controversial 'No' campaign poster
The controversial 'No' campaign poster

THEY were “hurt, offended and appalled” their image was used by ‘No’ campaigners in the same-sex marriage referendum.

But now the pro-gay marriage couple used in the controversial ‘No’ posters are said to be “delighted” that Irish people will now see a family who would vote ‘Yes’ when they look at the signs.

The image of the British couple pictured with their infant son is used on the poster produced by the Mothers and Fathers Matter campaign group.

It reads: “Children deserve a mother and a father”.

The couple issued a statement via Amnesty International expressing their upset at the use of the picture which was taken by a photographer friend of theirs and for which they got no payment.

They got free family portraits, they said, while allowing the photographer to sell it to a stock image firm.

YES family.jpg  

“Discrimination on the grounds of sexuality has no place in the 21st century. If we were residents of Ireland, not the UK, we would vote Yes for marriage equality,” the couple’s statement read. 

“Above all we hope that children in Ireland, will be guaranteed the equality that our children enjoy, and will be able to grow up in a society which guarantees them full equality before the law, no matter who they love when they eventually go on to form adult, loving, committed relationships,” they added.

“They’re a very ordinary, private family who were hurt, offended and appalled that their image would be used in this way,” Amnesty’s Irish boss Colm O’Gorman told the Herald.

“What I hope now is that all the people who have been upset by those posters will look up and see a family that would vote ‘Yes’ now,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“That’s one of the things that the dad was delighted to hear.

“They were so happy to hear that their statement has meant people will have a different relationship with those posters.”

Mr O’Gorman earlier tweeted another image of the family, this time on a mocked up poster reading Children Deserve #Equality, Vote Yes.

The father sent the image to Mr O’Gorman.

“He said to me ‘did you see this one? This is more accurate. This is what we really think’,” the prominent ‘Yes’ campaigner said.

Mr O’Gorman, who married his partner Paul in 2011, has two daughters, one of whom added her voice to the debate when she spoke on radio earlier this year.

“The vote ‘No’ poster was a powerful, emotionally manipulative poster.

“So from a political campaigning point of view it was clever, but wasn’t very well conceived,” Mr O’Gorman argued.

A statement entitled ‘Mothers and Fathers Matter issues response to Amnesty learning about stock photos and stuff’ was sent out by the campaign group hitting back at the remarks by Mr O’Gorman and the family.

“We’re just worried that next week Colm O’Gorman will be shocked and appalled as he discovers the family in the Coke ads actually likes Pepsi,” the one-line statement read.

Mr O’Gorman later dismissed the comments as “bizarre”.

“The ‘Yes’ side will continue to tell the stories of real Irish people on whom a ‘Yes’ vote would have a profound affect,” he said.

CAMPAIGN

Meanwhile, Taosieach Enda Kenny met with young people at the national support organisation BeLonG To in Temple Bar in Dublin, where he told them that all parties in Leinster House were behind the ‘Yes’ campaign.

One young BeLonG To member, Alison Kershaw, broke down as she discussed the referendum with him.

“I encourage people, and young people as well, please go out and vote for young people like us who just want to be happy,” she said through tears.

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