Ireland’s former president Mary McAleese will take part in the Dublin Pride march on June 30.
The theme for the Pride event is ‘We Are Family’, and she has clearly taken it to heart, saying that most of her extended family plans to attend.
McAleese said she would march with her son, Justin, and his husband, Dr Fionán Donohoe (pictured below). Her husband, siblings and other children also be there – and her 87-year-old mother is even hoping to attend in a wheelchair.
“We are family and that is what we will be showcasing – showcasing Ireland at its absolute best,” she said.
McAleese, a practising Catholic, was speaking at a conference organised by We Are Church Ireland, a liberal group that advocates for LGBT rights within the Church.
The event was held as Pope Francis has been accused of being out of touch with Irish society after claiming that LGBT+ couples could not form real families.
McAleese said she would not be attending any World Meeting of Families events led by Pope Francis this August because of the consistent opposition to LGBT+ rights.
“Jesus Christ would be better represented by those celebrating marriage equality than “miserable people in a tiny empire the size of a golf course,’” she said.
This follows concerns raised by McAleese earlier this year over the marginalisation of the LGBT+ community in the run-up to the Pope’s visit to Ireland.
At the event, McAleese described the happiest day of her life as the day after the 2015 marriage referendum was passed and “a wave of love swept all around Ireland”.
She also endorsed the We Are Church’s online petition which calls on the Pope to change “insulting” language about the LGBT+ community before his upcoming visit to Ireland.
“I’d like to see the Church stop hurting LGBTI people,” she said.
LGBT+ people are described by Catholic literature as “objectively disordered” and homosexual sex as “intrinsically evil”.