Robbie Keane urges support of same-sex marriage in Ireland

On May 22, the Republic of Ireland will vote on a referendum to decide the legality of same-sex marriage. Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny announced the vote in February, hoping to prove that “Ireland has evolved to a fair, compassionate and tolerant nation”.

Yesterday, in a letter he shared with Sunday World, Ireland national team legend and LA Galaxy Designated Player Robbie Keane offered his heartfelt support for same-sex equality and the referendum’s passing.

“While, unfortunately, I will not be home to vote on May 22, I am strongly supporting a ‘YES’ vote.

Most of us will have friends or family who, up to now, have been denied to right to marry their loved ones or have been made to feel excluded because of their sexuality. To me, this feels wrong,” he continued.

I am a very proud Irishman and it is important to me that our country does, and is seen to, treat all of its citizens on an equal footing.

As a sportsman, fairness is key. My own personal view is that changing our Constitution on this issue is the right decision as it will give people the choice and opportunity to marry, irrespective of the fact that they may wish to marry someone of the same gender.

The rules of the game should be the same for all, no matter what team is right for you.”

By no means are athletes obligated to use their celebrity to affect change and social advancement, but it’s noteworthy when they do. Too often, athletes believe that silence in the name of discretion is necessary to avoid damage to their careers. Whether it’s because he’s been successful for so long that he no longer has to concern himself with perception or he simply doesn’t care, either way, it’s admirable that Robbie Keane has leant his voice to an important cause.