The Day We Counted
On the 26th of November 2015 Rena Blake and Lisa Fingleton become the first same sex couple to get married in County Kerry. It is an emotional and historic moment as they sign the register, after months of campaigning for full marriage equality.
On the 22nd of May 2015 Ireland is poised to become the first country in the world to vote in favour of marriage equality for same sex couples by popular ballot.
The next day Lisa, Rena and a group of hopeful volunteers are still tallying votes at the count center in Tralee. In the months leading up to referendum day they choose to believe that change is possible. They are tired of hearing the media mantra about the rural-urban divide and the dominant belief that Kerry will return a ‘no’ vote.
During the months leading up to the referendum they work tirelessly, canvassing and sharing their personal stories with families, friends and communities. Tina Moriarty from Castlegregory speaks out about her dreams for daughter. Crowds come out in Tralee to welcome the Yes Bus and create human chains to form ‘The Rings of Kerry’ in the town square. Writer and publican Billy Keane hosts the first ever gay pride event in the infamous John B. Keane’s pub. Lisa rouses the crowd with a rendition of Edith Piaf’s ‘No regrets’. “We will wake up on May 23rd with no regrets. The light will triumph over darkness”.
At the count center, the Yes Equality Kerry volunteers stand beside each other in solidarity as the seals are broken on the ballot boxes of their towns and villages. The judgment of their neighbours tumbles out onto the tables. They laugh, they cry as history unfolds before their eyes. It is the people’s revolution, the most significant referendum of our time.
- Irish Times Column by Lisa Fingleton on the anniversary of the day we counted 23rd May 2016
- The Press Photographers Association of Ireland Annual Awards 2016
- Irish Times: Feature article by Rena Blake May 2015
- Radio Kerry: Saturday Supplement Interview with Rena Blake and Lisa Fingleton (By Frank Lewis on Saturday 5th March 2016)
- ‘Vote with us’ video by Tina Moriarty, a mother from Castlegregory and yes equality campaigner
- For more information about the success of the campaign in Kerry check out the facebook page (2500 likes)