Couples who have been together for years talk about love. It's adorable — and heartbreaking.
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The Atlantic Philanthropies

Most of their family and friends are married. These gay and lesbian couples in Ireland are tired of being left out.

So, they're talking openly about their relationships and why marriage means so much to them in the "Yes to Love" video by Marriage Equality. It's honest. It's adorable. But it's also kind of heartbreaking. Why? Because all of these couples are madly in love and have been for many years. But they can't express their feelings in the way they want to. That way is marriage.

As their handwritten sign notes, Anthony and Barry have been together for 14 years.


Anthony describes Barry as "half of me," saying "I can't remember what my life was like before Barry. If I didn't have Barry to wake up to in the morning or go to bed with at night, you know what? I'd miss that." After being together for almost two decades, they're on a mission to "keep it fresh."

Barry explains, "We have a 'Yay Day' for each other. It's basically like a birthday, except in the middle of the year. I do something nice for him. It doesn't have to cost money."

While "Yay Days" are a sweet touch and really special to them, they're obviously not a substitute for a wedding. "Marriage is important to us because we want to be equal to everybody else. ... Civil partnership is not enough. We want marriage."



Louise and Sive feel the same way. They've got two super cute and animated kids, Maeve and Orla, and have been dating for 5 and a half years.

Louise met her forever love after moving to Ireland from New Zealand:

"I joined the rowing club, and that's where I met Sive. ... From there we kind of became friends, and then a couple of months later, we started seeing each other ... She's really caring, so I'm really happy. So lucky to have met her."

For Louise and Sive, public acknowledgment is key. "Marriage is important to us because it gives recognition that we are committed to each other and we have a family. And we're really serious about our commitment."

Lora and Gillian have also been in a relationship for 5 and a half years. What keeps them happy is relishing in everyday pleasures.

Gillian is inspired by her partner's drive. "Everything that Lora does, she's really, really passionate about, and I love that." And Lora digs Gillian's vocals. "I love when Gillian sings in the shower every morning. I want to hear her. It just starts my day out perfectly. It makes me smile, and I love that."

They've got mad love for each other and also for their country. But they want Ireland to step it up. "We're very proud to be Irish, and we're very proud of our country. We just want our country to accept us for who we are and be treated the same as everyone else," Lora says.

Freda and Deborah are also looking for acceptance and inclusion. They started off in a long distance relationship 11 years ago.


Deborah explains:

"Our humor brought us together. If you can laugh on the telephone 3,000 miles away from each other and still laugh when you've put down the telephone, there's a connection there. ... I feel excluded here in Ireland, and I don't like that. I want to be included. I am legally married in Canada, and I want to be legally married here in Ireland. And it means the world to me."

All four couples are sharing their cute love stories for a reason.

They're talking about their relationships as part of the Yes Equality campaign. Backed by GLEN, Marriage Equality, and the ICCL, their goal is to educate folks about the marriage equality bill that's up for a vote in Ireland on May 22, 2015. The referendum is a huge deal. It would legalize same-sex marriage countrywide while also amending their constitution to forever seal the deal on paper.

Currently LGBT couples in Ireland can be united by civil partnership, which still excludes 160 privileges that married heterosexual partners have. This means that gay couples can't have a religious marriage ceremony in a church, aren't able to collect tax benefits, and are excluded from adopting children together or even providing guardianship to them as a couple. That's not cool. It's seriously time for a change.

How can you show support?

You can watch the "Yes to Love" video below and share it, if you like. You can also reach out to Marriage Equality to volunteer.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather
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Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

While most 10-year-olds are playing Minecraft, riding bikes, or watching YouTube videos, Justin Sather is intent on saving the planet. And it all started with a frog blanket when he was a baby.

"He carried it everywhere," Justin's mom tells us. "He had frog everything, even a frog-themed birthday party."

In kindergarten, Justin learned that frogs are an indicator species – animals, plants, or microorganisms used to monitor drastic changes in our environment. With nearly one-third of frog species on the verge of extinction due to pollution, pesticides, contaminated water, and habitat destruction, Justin realized that his little amphibian friends had something important to say.

"The frogs are telling us the planet needs our help," says Justin.

While it was his love of frogs that led him to understand how important the species are to our ecosystem, it wasn't until he read the children's book What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada that Justin-the-activist was born.

Inspired by the book and with his mother's help, he set out on a mission to raise funds for frog habitats by selling toy frogs in his Los Angeles neighborhood. But it was his frog art which incorporated scientific facts that caught people's attention. Justin's message spread from neighbor to neighbor and through social media; so much so that he was able to raise $2,000 for the non-profit Save The Frogs.

And while many kids might have their 8th birthday party at a laser tag center or a waterslide park, Justin invited his friends to the Ballona wetlands ecological preserve to pick invasive weeds and discuss the harms of plastic pollution.

Justin's determination to save the frogs and help the planet got a massive boost when he met legendary conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall.

Photo courtesy of Justin Sather

At one of her Roots and Shoots youth initiative events, Dr. Goodall was so impressed with Justin's enthusiasm for helping frogs, she challenged the young activist to take it one step further and focus on plastic pollution as well. Justin accepted her challenge and soon after was featured in an issue of Bravery Magazine dedicated to Jane Goodall.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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