Irish film actor Colin Farrell has written a personal appeal to the Irish people asking them to approve an upcoming ballot question which seeks to make Ireland the 18th nation with marriage equality.

In a heartfelt op-ed published in The Sunday World, Farrell spoke of the bullying his brother faced growing up and the distance he had to travel to marry his husband.

“I don't know where those bullies are now, the ones who beat him regularly. Maybe some of them have found peace and would rather forget their own part of a painful past. Maybe they're sitting on bar stools and talking about 'birds and faggots' and why one's the cure and the other the disease.”

“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. They are about the healthiest and happiest couple I know. They had to travel a little farther than down the aisle to make their vows, though, to Canada, where their marriage was celebrated.”

“That's why this is personal to me. The fact that my brother had to leave Ireland to have his dream of being married become real is insane. INSANE.”

Farrell added the world will be watching: “We will lead by example. Let's lead toward light.”

Ireland will vote on the issue sometime in the first half of next year.

Currently, gay couples can exchange vows in 16 countries. A marriage law takes effect in Luxembourg on January 1.