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Take a look at how the people of Ireland are showing support for marriage equality.

For years, LGBT activists have pushed to establish full, equal rights under Irish law.

Take a look at how the people of Ireland are showing support for marriage equality.

The people of Ireland take to the polls to cast a vote that could improve the lives of countless citizens: a vote on whether or not they will embrace marriage equality.

A 2010 law granted same-sex couples the ability to apply for civil partnerships but still prevented them from being allowed the full equal treatment that comes with marriage. In 2013, the government announced that they would support putting the question of marriage equality up to a vote sometime in the first half of 2015, and that brings us to now.


Image by Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images.

The vote is a simple "yes" or "no," asking whether or not to add a single sentence to the country's constitution.

That sentence is simply, "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

Those in favor of marriage equality will vote "yes." Those opposed will vote "no."

LGBT people and their supporters have been out in full force urging the people of Ireland to vote yes, driving the hashtag "#VoteYes" near the top of Twitter's worldwide trend list.

The cause drew support from Ben & Jerry's.

Rock band U2 voiced support for equality in the country they call home.

A photo posted by U2 Official (@u2) on

And best of all, it brought out some incredibly thoughtful, energetic tweets from regular people about to experience something fantastic in their country.

Ruthe later admitted that she ate the "I've" Skittles but it's the thought that counts.

There were lots of pictures of people going to or from the polling place.

Support also came in the form of clothing choices.

John here makes an excellent point. What better way to show how much you appreciate the work of Oscar Wilde than to improve the lives of LGBT people in his home country? I mean, other than tattooing a quote of his on your body like I did.

My absolute favorite, however, is this post by Kevin Beirne. His mom made a few, let's say, changes to his room.

No matter who you are or where you live, you can appreciate how powerful this moment is in history.

Take, for example, the story of William and Kevin. The two have been together for nearly 10 years. They recently got engaged and live in Savannah, Georgia. For them, there's hope that the U.S. will support marriage equality with the upcoming Supreme Court decision.

They look at Ireland's situation with hope for their own future.

While it's unfortunate that whether or not people have the same rights is being decided by a vote, it's cool to see how enthusiastic some people are.

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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