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By voting 'yes' on May 22, people can change forever what it means to grow up gay in Ireland.

Ireland is experiencing social shifts similar to those in America.

By voting 'yes' on May 22, people can change forever what it means to grow up gay in Ireland.

Gay couples are not legally allowed to get married in Ireland.

Image by Firemedic58/Flickr.


Although Ireland's constitution does not define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, the courts have interpreted it to mean that. Additionally, the Civil Registration Act, introduced in 2004, does indeed define marriage as being between a man and woman.

The country instead offers "civil partnership" options to gay, lesbian, and transgender folks.

Unfortunately, a civil partnership doesn't give all of the rights and responsibilities as marriage.

According to Marriage Equality, a not-for-profit that champions LGBT rights in Ireland, there are over 160 statutory differences between the two options. While they've worked with elected representatives to reconcile many differences,

"some very important inequalities remain. For example, Civil Partnership:
  • Does not permit children to have a legally recognised relationship with their parents - only the biological one. This causes all sorts of practical problems for hundreds of families with schools and hospitals as well as around guardianship, access and custody. In the worst case, it could mean that a child is taken away from a parent and put into care on the death of the biological parent.
  • Does not recognise same sex couples' rights to many social supports that may be needed in hardship situations and may literally leave a loved one out in the cold.
  • Defines the home of civil partners as a 'shared home,' rather than a 'family home,' as is the case for married couples. This has implications for the protection of dependent children living in this home and also means a lack of protection for civil partners who are deserted."

What message does it send when two groups are conferred differing (and unequal) rights?

On May 22, Ireland will vote on a referendum for marriage equality.

If the referendum passes, Ireland's constitution will be amended to include the following language: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

Just like that, with 17 simple words, all Irish citizens would have the same legal right to get married.

So BeLonG To Youth Services is encouraging people to vote for "yes" for equality — and to bring along their family!

Equality is good for everyone.


Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

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While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

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Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

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The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

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Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."