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France to honour Irish broadcaster who came out over same-sex marriage

Joseph McCormick February 1, 2017

The French Government is to recognise an Irish broadcaster who came out amid the debate around same-sex marriage.

Ursula Halligan, the TV3 political editor, came out in a column in the Irish Times a week before the Irish referendum on same-sex marriage.

Now the French Government plans to make her a chevalier of its national order of merit to recognise her efforts for same-sex marriage.

At 54, Halligan came out a week before the referendum which eventually led to equal marriage in Ireland.

She discussed hiding her sexual orientation from age 17, saying she hid an “essential part of my humanity, the expression of my deepest self; my instinct to love.”

Continuing, she urged Catholics to vote yes for equal marriage.

She wrote: “As a person of faith and a Catholic, I believe a Yes vote is the most Christian thing to do. I believe the glory of God is the human being fully alive and that this includes people who are gay.”

Halligan will be presented with a medal at a ceremony at the Dublin home of the French ambassador, Jean-Pierre Thebault.

According to his spokesman, the medal will be given to “recognise her role in the referendum and her strong contacts with the embassy”.

The Republic of Ireland back in 2015 approved same-sex marriage after a referendum on the issue.

Citizens in Ireland voted on a proposal to introduce civil same-sex marriage in the country.

Making same-sex marriage legal required a change to the constitution – that in Ireland can only be passed through a referendum.

Many Irish citizens travelled back to Ireland to vote, as it was not possible to cast a vote from abroad, with emotional scenes in airports and train stations as large crowds flocked in. Under Irish law, citizens who have been out of Ireland for less than 18 months were still eligible vote.

The Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny ahead of the vote said he thought same-sex marriage will pass  – but that it may be closer than previously anticipated.

A moratorium was is in place across Ireland’s broadcast media preventing discussion of same-sex marriage, until the polls closed.

The Irish Constitution requires referenda on a range of issues that would be usually passed by Parliaments in other countries.

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