LGBTI lobbyist Susan Cullinane had, quite literally, a mountain to climb in convincing her Irish community to vote in favour of marriage equality.
Susan, who spent two months door-knocking throughout her community during the campaign, couldn’t bear to wait around for the results of Ireland’s referendum; so she decided to go for a hike.
It was there, at the top of a mountain in Ireland, that Susan and her partner learned the vote had passed with a 62% majority.
Visiting family in Rockhampton, she told The Morning Bulletin she had felt quite negative on polling day.
“I was in tears just driving to the polls … the next day I thought, I can’t sit here and listen.
“We were on top of the mountain when we got the message to say it’s gone through,” she said.
“It was one of the most emotionally exhausting things I have ever done.
“I think if you are straight, the debates on TV and the radio are an abstract thing; for a LGBTI person it’s your life up for public scrutiny and that’s hard to listen to every day.”
Susan told The Morning Bulletin it had taken its toll asking strangers for permission to marry her partner.
“That was challenging and difficult emotionally,” she said.
“You have gone through the whole process of coming out to yourself, family and friends; and then having to go to the doors of strangers asking them and explaining to them why it’s important to have that right.
“It was really tough having to ask strangers to vote to give you the right to get married.”
Susan hopes that Ireland’s result will influence change here in Australia.
“It made quite a difference to have the state recognise your relationship. It’s like the whole country has accepted you … for forever LGBTI people have been second-class citizens and now to have the whole country get behind you and give you that sense of acceptance is a fantastic feeling.
“Hopefully that has caused some momentum for the states, for Australia, and even places where things are much, much worse for LGBTI people.”
(Picture: The Morning Bulletin)