Monday, May 18, 2015

Ireland and the Amazing and Historic Struggle for Marriage Equality

A wonderful thing may be about to happen in Ireland in just a few days.

Millions of people are preparing to take on the power of the Catholic Church, and some of the nastiest bigots you can imagine.

And make that country the first in the world to vote to approve same-sex marriage. 

Irish voters are set to back the introduction of marriage equality by a margin of as much as two-to-one next week and become the first country to approve the policy in a national plebiscite, a series of polls indicated on Saturday.

The Irish Times poll of 1,200 voters showed 58% planned to vote in favour of the measure compared to 25% against and 17% undecided.

And although other polls show that winning margin narrowing. And the Catholic Church is pulling out all the stops to try to convince its shrinking flock that Jesus is HATE.

In letters published on Saturday, a number of Catholic bishops, who have played a low key role in the campaign, warned their parishioners the vote could profoundly change the understanding of marriage, family and parenthood.

And that gay people are bad for children.

As only they could.

The ghastly hypocrites, the murderous bastards. 

Evidence has also emerged that children in these homes were used for medical testing, and that their bodies were sold for dissections to medical schools. Poorer families were reportedly subject to worse neglect at the institutions.

And even though the NO side has a lot more money, thanks to the support of many bestial anti-gay groups in the United States.

The referendum has already transformed that country, made it a better place, freed some of its long oppressed LGBT people. 

Last week, Ursula Halligan, the well-known and much liked political editor of TV3, came out in the Irish Times.

“For me, there was no first kiss; no engagement party; no wedding,” wrote Halligan. “And up until a short time ago no hope of any of these things. Now, at the age of 54, in a (hopefully) different Ireland, I wish I had broken out of my prison cell a long time ago.”

And brought out the best in so many of their straight friends and allies...

The referendum has been divisive in debate, but unifying in people power. On Saturday, the yes camp saw crowds of people canvassing across the country. Fundraising concerts and club nights have pulled in thousands of euros. 

The yes campaign is buoyed by support from children’s charities and an almost endless stream of unexpected voices, including Irish football captain Robbie Keane and the epitome of genteel rural Ireland, singer Daniel O’Donnell.

And for me the most encouraging thing is the way the young have overwhelmingly embraced the cause of marriage equality. Worked so hard to make up for the YES side's financial disadvantage.

Made wonderful ads like this one, to encourage young people to register to vote...

And are now preparing to head for the polls, taking their families with them....

And preparing to make history.

Which of course couldn't make me happier, since I've been fighting for gay rights from the age of twelve.

As I fight today for the rights of all oppressed people.

And I've always believed in this message...

Which may be humble, but couldn't be more human.

Hope will always beat fear.

And love will always beat HATE...

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  1. That would be such an important change in Ireland - and kick in the teeth to the bigots in the Church. Of course same sex marriage is legal in several predominantly Catholic countries and (non-sovereign) nations.

    Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, parts of Mexico etc but Ireland, like Poland, is viewed as a particularly hardline Catholic land (Poland is among the sorry clique of bigoted states whose constitutions specifically limit marriage to persons of opposite sex).

    I liked the videos. Like the best of the Scottish independence videos, they spoke of a social transformation and personal reconciliation beyond the letter of the proposed change in law. I have a couple of close friends; a gay man and a lesbian, who "oppose" same-sex marriage because they are opposed to marriage in general, like many people (gay and straight) here in Québec. But it is a matter of equality and recognition.

    One quibble about the second video: it is illegal in most any democracy to wear buttons or t-shirts that support one side in a vote at a pollling station.

    Psst, Celts speak the nicest English...

    1. hi lagatta...yes it would be a great way for the Irish to finally get the Church off their backs like Quebecers did after the Quiet Revolution. And yes aren't those videos great, especially the one aimed at getting younger Irish people to vote. If we changed a few words we could use it to inspire young Canadians to vote. Instead of just hectoring them, or trying to shame them into voting, moving them to believe in something great is the way to go. As for the argument about marriage, although I'm not married, I believe it should be a choice, because it is a measure of equality...
      And finally, yes they're is something really beautiful about an Irish accent, and Scottish follows closely behind. If you can understand it... ;)

    2. Some Highland Scottish accents are very close to Irish (especially in Gaelic-speaking regions). And don't forget the Welsh!

      I confess to a bit of difficulty the first time I had to interpret working-class Glaswegian trade unionists...

  2. The Catholic Church, in Ireland and elsewhere, has much to answer for, and absolutely no moral high ground on which to satnd..
    They give religion as bad a name as any other fundamentalist group, and yes, I am more than willing to call out the RCs as fundamentalist...they preach one thing do another and any victims that fall by the wayside are just the cost of the Vatican doing business; and that would be Big Business, Corporatist and Big Banking Business, and they have the stones to tell 'the flock' that equality in marriage law is bad for children..what is more toxic for children than members of that clergy?
    Hopefully, finally, the Irish people will stand u[ to the bigot bully paedophile-hiding bastards and tell them where to go, and that would be out of their bedrooms and out of their personal lives. And yes, in case you were wondering, my father came from Irish Catholic parents...

    1. hi mizdarlin...the Catholic Church in Ireland has behaved abominably in the past, and if you read that story about the dead children, it's almost beyond belief. That they would punish the children as well as their single mothers. So yes, I would like to see the Irish people send them a good strong message. I have nothing against Catholics, in fact almost all my friends were baptized into that faith. And I even know some decent Catholic priests. But the church hierarchy is absolutely bestial...

  3. e.a.f.1:21 PM

    Why don't people get over it, mind their own business, etc. Who you love doesn't matter, as long as you love. A few years ago they did some stats and found there was a lower divorce rate amongst American gay men. So we know who has the family values, if that is what this is about. You don't just get born into a family. You make your family as you move through life.

    Good for the citizens of Ireland. And just think how good this will be for the wedding business!

    1. hi e.a.f....I used to ask myself that question a long time ago, now I just accept that some people are natural born bigots and want to feel superior to others. And having to fight that senseless hate has made the LGBT community even stronger...

  4. Actually, I believe the (far) lower divorce rates among both gay men and lesbians is because they tend to get married later in life, and thus it is a more considered decision. But bigotry is so stupid that it will even make that sound like a negative.

    I'm not lesbian, but even nowadays I get the odd comment that I haven't "done my part" because I've never had (biological, human) children. I've done a hell of a lot of other things for the rights of humans and other sentient beings.

    Since I'm a boomer, some of my lesbian and gay male friends actually did attempt to "go straight" and married early; obviously with disastrous results. I think we can be happy that this is less common nowadays, at least in Western countries (and not only in the prosperous North; Brazil and Argentina are among the countries where same-sex marriage is recognized).