Last month, I was privileged to be invited to the wedding of my cousin to his long-term partner in Ireland. It could not have been a more wonderful time; the wedding ceremony was absolutely beautiful. For those who don’t know, my cousin Bernárd Lynch and his husband Billy Desmond have tirelessly fought for LGBT rights for many years now. He worked to help those suffering from AIDs in the 1980s and was persecuted for it. This hasn’t stopped him and he played a vital role in the passing of a number of equality laws in New York. However, through it all Bernárd has kept his strong faith against a religion that says his love is wrong. That kind of devotion is exceptional and I don’t know anyone else who can do what he does.
It was both a private and public celebration; their personal commitment to each other and the culmination of the work of many years that now meant they could legally marry in Ireland after the historic vote for same-sex marriage in 2015.
Coincidentally they were the first gay couple to marry in County Clare, where Bernárd was born, which made it an even more momentous occasion. I can honestly say I don’t think I have seen two people more in love and I challenge anyone to say that being gay is wrong.
As well as the wedding, the whole weekend was the first time I’d been back in Ireland, where my father’s parents were from, in about 14 years. It’s such a beautiful country and the people are so friendly; the stereotype says it’s the friendliest country and we really found that. It was fantastic to meet family, some of whom I’d never met and I instantly felt like I’d known them for years. We are already planning a road trip again soon.
I can wholeheartedly say that I am so proud to call them both a part of my family. I have always supported equal rights for people of all genders, races, sexuality, religion etc. but compared to the struggles and sacrifices they have made it’s nothing. I implore people to think again when they make a judgement about a situation. Love is all that matters and I think that message has been lost somewhere along the way.
If you want to find out more about their work check out this charity they have set up to support LGBT people across Ireland.