Watch: Irish minister ordered to remove ‘Yes Equality’ pin during live TV interview
Ireland’s Minister for Equality was ordered to remove a pin supporting same-sex marriage during a TV interview to maintain ‘balance’.
The Republic of Ireland is set to vote on May 22 on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage.
All major political parties have come out in favour, with a number of senior figures backing the ‘Yes Equality’ campaign – but there remains strong opposition from anti-gay Catholic lobbying groups.
While appearing on RTE’s Saturday Night Show over the weekend to discuss marijuana legalisation, Irish Labour Party politician Aodhan O’Riordain was ordered by the show’s host to remove his badge.
O’Riordain was discussing his upbringing, when host Brendan O’Connor cut in: “Could you take off that pin? The pin you’re wearing on your collar. I think it’s best if you do.”
Mr O’Riordain told the audience “it’s a Yes pin” – with Mr O’Connor, who was presumably trying to maintain neutrality on the issue, chastising: “You just made it worse!”
The TV host joked: “I’m going to say ‘No’. Just to balance you saying yes, I’m going to say no.”
The Minister of State for New Communities, Culture and Equality later jokingly tweeted about “pingate”, writing: “Anyone have a spare ‘yes’ pin? Gave mine away & need it for Marriage Equality rally tomorrow”.
It is not the first time RTE has stirred controversy – last year it gave a substantial settlement to anti-gay group Iona Institute, after a guest on the same Saturday Night Show labelled them an anti-gay group.
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