When you have a baby, your whole perspective changes. I remember moments after Billy was born I balled crying. He was so perfect. Unharmed. Innocent. 

For the next couple of days I found myself getting teary very easily. All normal I was told. The baby blues, hormones all over the place after giving birth. 

One thing I recall, as clear as day, is the actual emotion I felt when I saw Billy for the first time. Apart from euphoric happiness, relief and gratefulness. It was a complete panic related to wanting to protect him. 

It was as though the moment he was born, he was no longer shielded. He was open to the world, susceptible to all of the dark things that we try to protect ourselves from. Heartache, illness, bullying. That type of thing. 

I stared at him. Held him close. And on one particular night, I remember with profound clarity, I promised him something. 

It was about 4am, and I had been awake most of the night trying to get breastfeeding established. At one point he looked at me and I found myself being overwhelmed once again by that feeling of protection. It was bigger than me. I quite literally wanted to wrap him up in cotton wool, show him happiness, care for him and love him, and keep all harm away from him. In that moment I looked at him and I actually uttered the words “I will always protect you”. 

And I will. It’s my job. It’s my right. But it’s his right too. He has the right to happiness. He has the right to as many happy moments the world has to offer. He has the right to smile, to laugh, to love. 

He also has the right to do all of this in an equal way to the rest of his class in school. The rest of his peers. The world. 

I could be the mother of an LGBT child or person. So could you. We both could be. 

The lady at the school gate who you’ve befriended? The first time mother? She could be too. 

That night I made a promise to my son, that I will do everything in my power to protect and surround him with happiness in this life. 

I don’t break promises. 

On May 22nd, in keeping with that promise, and in exercising everything that I believe to be true, I will be voting YES. I could scream it from the roof tops. 

I’m not a know-it-all, I’m not ignorant, and I’m certainly not the type of person to tell another person what is right and what is wrong. But when the issue concerns something so fundamentally important to the future of our children, to the future of our friends, our siblings, our neighbours… I simply cannot understand nor will I ever understand how someone could vote no in this referendum. 

The posters are a disgrace, ignorant, un-educated, and contrived. They are disgusting. 

If you want a world that allows your children to be happy and to wake up every morning in the knowledge that they do not have to live like a second class citizen. If you want to be part of an Ireland that honours equality among all individuals. If you want to do what is RIGHT, then I ask you to please please vote YES in this referendum. 

The Facebook profile photos are great, but the statistics of under 30’s who have not registered to vote is astounding. Your vote is something that your ancestors fought for. It is a piece of the puzzle that will create the future for those whom you love. To let that vote go unused, is really irresponsible and quite a selfish thing to do in my opinion. 

Perhaps I will lose readers after this post, but that is not what is important to me. 

On May 22nd I will be voting YES, and I hope you will too. Because when it comes to equality, there is no question, in my opinion. It is black and white. 

If you have not registered to vote, please do. It takes two seconds to check and it can be resolved in the coming days. There is still time to rectify it and register your vote. A quick visit to a website, and a quick visit to your local polling station, could literally be the difference between a life of lies, fear and bullying for your children and family, or the joy of living in a country that sees all couples as equal. Straight or gay. 

YES to equality.