KirstRoisín Hughes and wife, Kristen (above), walking down the aisle.

Ahead of Friday’s Marriage Referendum, Bray (County Wicklow) native Roisín Hughes, now in Chicago, U.S.A., shares her story in a bid to sway the undecided and inspire the don’t knows.

Roisín writes:

One thing is certain: May 22nd is a date that I will never pass over arbitrarily as I flick through my ’30 Rock’ desk calendar — my niece, who turns six on that date this year, will make sure of that. I can only hope that the date will be special to me for years to come in another way as well. Time, dates, days…they are funny little things.

A mere decade ago, I was a third year college student, enjoying the typical antics that are associated with university life in Dublin, Ireland: surrounded by fantastic lifelong friends, playing field hockey at college level, holding my head above water at exam time, and generally living what most would consider a wonderful life. I was also living a wonderful lie. Since my early teens, I had been fairly certain that I was gay.

For those unfamiliar, the best way to describe the day-to-day impact of shielding that lie is this: Every time something truly amazing happened in my life, (and many things did, I consider my adolescence to have been a very happy and fulfilling one), that lie tapped me on the shoulder, reminding me that nothing was quite as fantastic as it seemed.

Each time a sad situation arose, it was even more difficult to surmount because of the dark cloud of lies I told myself and everyone I loved every day. Every time one of my siblings brought a significant other home, I felt a tremendous ball of sadness in the pit of my stomach: A sadness borne of jealousy, fear, and shame.

Every time a scandal broke out in my small town, nothing seemed to compare to the wrath of my own private scandal. There were some dark days during those years. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would do one of two things: Marry a boy that I got along well with, avoid physical contact with him at all costs and hope that our mutual obsession with all things sport-related would get us through the decades of companionship; or die a spinster and possibly adopt some cats (I hate cats).

In 10 short years, the LGBT equal rights movement has witnessed an avalanche of progress. To bring the countless court victories and law amendments down to a personal level, consider this: On this day, I calculate that it has been over 8 years since I felt any semblance of that lie tap my shoulder. What a feat! Would-be husbands! Cats! You’re all safe!

Consider the shifts: My shame has been replaced with a beaming pride. My years spent in fear at my all-female Catholic school have been usurped by four years working for the greatest, most inclusive company in the world, Salesforce.

My CEO, Marc Benioff, recently took to Twitter to take a stand against Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law. My brother, Mike, has recently become heavily involved in Procter & Gamble’s LGBT ally program, GABLE. The emails that he sends me about his participation and support of that group bring a lump to my throat without fail.

Nine months ago, I wed my best friend, the love of my life, Kristen. As the Irish would say: I did well for myself. She’s gorgeous, inside and out, a gem of a human being.

A 100 of our close family and friends traveled from Ireland and Iowa to Chicago last summer to witness and partake in our wedding. My Dad walked me down the aisle just as he had my two straight sisters previously.

It was a wonderful occasion, the best of my life, one that I had not imagined could occur until very recently — the same applies to the Marriage Equality referendum in Ireland. I remember speaking with my gay brother, David, who is 2 years my elder, shortly after we had both come out to each other.

At the time, our options were incredibly limited when it came to planning a future — the Netherlands was the only country in which we could have married our partners. Most of our extended family and friends were still unaware of the fact that we were gay — the idea of sending them a wedding invitation was unfathomable. Maybe in 2050 New York…Possibly progressive Germany… Ireland? Not a chance. Not in our lifetime.

Living in Chicago, I can’t cast a ballot on Friday, May 22nd. So, to all those in a position to have their say later this week, I ask you this: Allow me to call my ‘wife’ my wife when I move back home someday.

Allow the countless teenagers that are being plagued by that tap on their shoulder to brush it away, knowing that their fellow citizens — straight, bisexual, gay — have confirmed the equality of their hopes and feelings, the equality of their love; knowing that their happiness is happiness and their fear is unwarranted.

By casting a Yes vote, you will be tapping teenagers’ shoulders all over the world, letting them know that it’s ok, and it’s going to be ok. Allow our little island to be the first country to pass this law of equality by popular vote. Be on the right side of history. #BeMyYes

Roisin Hughes at Medium.com

Thanks Kim Leonard

49 thoughts on “In America

  1. TransOpTrans

    Some advice for lesbians getting married – the same as for any other couple:

    Why not just find some woman at random and buy her a new house?

    Most marriages in the US end in divorce. The upshot is the sentence above.

      1. Joe the Lion

        I’m half watching it

        It really ranges from the ridiculous to the banal

        Some strong contenders in tonight’s show though if recent years are a guide – Russia, Estonia and Denmark. Estonian one a bit like Of Mice and Men

        I don’t think Finland will do it – I tried hard but could not locate a tune there. Fair play though in fairness
        Maybe we need Fluffy’s input in this one ?

        1. Don Pidgeoni

          Russia was very good. Too good. But Conchita is fab. So fab.

          Macedonia – so so bad!!

          Belgium should win

          1. Tá Frilly Keane

            I liked the Georgia one meself

            Here’
            What’s the story with the Wallabies hopping in?

          2. Don Pidgeoni

            I know it’s bullsh** right? It’s like Israel being allowed in, it’s geographically incorrect and therefore annoying. Also guy Sebastian? lol, OK…

      1. Joe the Lion

        I have at least two votes and possibly three
        I am considering using all of them just to piss newsjustin off

      2. rotide

        No problem, I’ll vote for you.

        What country do you want me to vote for?

        I liked russia

    1. Don Pidgeoni

      I feel so sorry for any woman you may marry Fake ABM if you can’t think about how this might happen

  2. linbinius

    Please tell me someone saw Steen launching into a story about a kid being called a homophobe…

    Tears in my eyes.

  3. Sharon's Boyfriend

    Roisín, I didn’t read your post because it’s way, way too long, but YES, I will be your YES.

    I had hoped that the comments would give me the gist of it, but it’s just a bunch of idiots talking about the Eurovision.

    But yes, I will still be your resounding YES.

      1. Sharon's Boyfriend

        Joe,
        I’m drunk.

        I wouldn’t comment here if I wasn’t drunk, except if there was a day when you were supposed to be drunk, in which case I wouldn’t post at all.

        Or I’d just change my name again…

        PS.
        Rotide…Anne is a girl. I checked. Definitely a girl.

        1. Don Pidgeoni

          I am very sensitive when it comes to Eurovision. I’m a born-again Eurovisionist.

  4. italia'90

    Dear Roisín,

    I had planned on spoiling both my ballot papers this coming Friday but,

    after reading your heartfelt, personal story, I have decided not to spoil the SSM ref. ballot.

    Instead, I will vote yes as you obviously can not and this affects you more than it ever will me.

    As your fellow Brayite, I will proudly glide(fabulously) into the voting booth in St. Andrews school, where you

    would possibly have cast your vote, had you been resident here now, and vote yes to happiness and

    equality for all.

    I will be spoiling my other vote by simply writing; “Just for you Roisín”. You never know, but maybe someone

    in the vote count centre in Greystones on Saturday might take a photo of it as I won’t be able to?

    Who knows?

    Enjoy your life, your partner, your love and your marriage.

  5. Sharon's Boyfriend

    Gimme a minute of your time, please.

    Homosexuality is natural.
    It’s prevalent in all races, and isn’t ever going to go away.
    It’s here to stay.

    When you fight against equal rights for Gay people you fight against Human Progression.
    You can be better than that.

    Trust me, the Church whose collection plate you put money into next Sunday will find a way to follow you, and for you to to follow them.
    They want your money.

    1. Barry

      Don’t think anyone these days has any problem with anyone bring gay!
      Voting yes or no is not yes or no to accepting gay people, it’s about the institution of marriage.

      1. Sharon's Boyfriend

        Definition of ‘Marriage’, from Dictionary.com;
        (broadly) any of the diverse forms of interpersonal union established in various parts of the world to form a familial bond that is recognized legally, religiously, or socially, granting the participating partners mutual conjugal rights and responsibilities and including, for example, opposite-sex marriage, same-sex marriage, plural marriage, and arranged marriage:
        Anthropologists say that some type of marriage has been found in every known human society since ancient times.

        If somebody has a better definition I’d like to hear it..

      2. Sharon's Boyfriend

        Barry, you and your ilk make me sick.

        You try to elevate yourselves above the rest of us (in your own mind) with your misplaced moral judgement, but you fail.
        There is no Holy Ghost. I won’t go away if you say seven Hail Marys.
        Your deceptive arguments might’ve worked in less enlightened times, but those days are gone.

        I grew up with people like you. Idiots, directing my life.
        Next week, I look forward to you and your buddies being told to take a long hike and never come back.
        Your days are over, and it’s not early enough.
        Good riddance to you.

        Nobody will notice that you’ve gone.
        Nobody will care, apart from those you’ve spent effort oppressing.

        1. Sharon's Boyfriend

          PS
          You’re a blight on society, the antithesis of democracy and the un-thinking arm of bullying.

          -All in the name of Christ (knows what, but it ain’t Christianity, oh no..Very far from it!.)

        1. St. John Smythe

          “Don’t think anyone these days has any problem with anyone bring gay!”

          Starting off with a blatant falsehood does not a reasoned comment make.

  6. Sharon's Boyfriend

    Sorry for singling you out Barry.
    There’s a few others here on this site that I want to tear apart too.
    You just popped your head up at the wrong time.

    The rest of you;
    I’m straight, in a happy marriage with three kids.
    I dare one of you to tell me how I should live my life, or how my children should live theirs.

  7. Just sayin'

    All those gay divorces will be hilarious after the initial rush to get married.

    Also, what are the chances of having a gay person having a gay sibling too? Kind of opens up the nature/nurture issue.

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