546944db024277bb31eaaf66_cf_lead“My brother Eamon didn’t choose to be gay,” actor Colin Farrell writes in a new op-ed for Ireland’s Sunday World newspaper. “Yes, he chose to wear eyeliner to school and that probably wasn’t the most pragmatic response to the daily torture he experienced at the hands of school bullies. But he was always proud of who he was.”

Ireland is getting ready to vote on a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage next year. Farrell, whose brother Eamon is gay, has joined the fight to help make marriage equality a reality for gays and lesbians in his home country.

“Even when others were casting [Eamon] out with fists and ridicule and the laughter of pure loathsome derision, he maintained an integrity and dignity that flew in the face of the cruelty that befell him,” Farrell continues. “I don’t know where those bullies are now, the ones who beat him regularly… But I do know where my brother is. He’s at home in Dublin living in peace and love with his husband of some years, Steven.”

Farrell goes on to explain how the couple had to fly all the way to Canada to exchange vows because same-sex marriage was not allowed in their country, meanwhile he could drive to Las Vegas, “get drunk and meet a woman and have Elvis marry us for $200.”

“It’s time to right the scales of justice here,” he writes. “To sign up and register to vote next year so that each individual’s voice can be heard. How often do we get to make history in our lives? Not just personal history. Familial. Social. Communal. Global. The world will be watching. We will lead by example.”

Ireland’s ballot referendum is scheduled for May 2015. According to an Irish Times poll, 67 percent of the nation’s voters favor a vote supporting marriage equality.

Related stories:

Ireland Will Recognize Your Marriage … If You Wait A Year

Gay Teachers In Ireland Are Being Bullied By Homophobic Students

WATCH: A Brief History Of Homosexuality In Ireland


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