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Same-sex marriages (SSM), civil unions, etc.

Outline map of Ireland 1

Part 4:
2014: Ireland:
Fine Gael party confirms supports SSM.
Times/IPSOS poll on the referendum.
"Yes Equality" group formed.

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This topic is continued from the previous page

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two brides about to marry 2014-MAR-01: The Fine Gael political party confirms its support of marriage equality:

At the Fine Gael Ard Fheis -- a meeting of the Fine Gael political party -- delegates voted in favor of the party actively campaigning in favor of same-sex marriage during the upcoming 2015 plebiscite.

Fine Gael translates into English as "Irish Race" or "Gaelic Nation." They describes themselves as "a party of the progressive centre" although they are often referred to as a centre-right party. It is the largest political party in Ireland and is currently the lead partner in the coalition Government with the Labour Party. The next election will be held during MAY-23.

An article in "The Journal" said:

"... party delegates have determined that Fine Gael should support the passing of the same-sex marriage referendum next year, with Cork South-Central TD Jerry Buttimer, the party's only openly gay parliamentarian, saying the motion was about equality.

'The only place where I am unequal is in my Constitution,' he said. Shatter praised Buttimer for his 'eloquence', 'courage' and 'leadership' to applause from delegates." 2

Jerry Buttimer continued:

"As a gay man and a member of Fine Gael it makes me tremendously proud to see party delegates not only choose to endorse this motion in support of marriage equality, but to endorse it overwhelmingly." 3

Alan Shatter is a Fine Gael politician and both the Minister for Justice and Equality and Minister for Defence. He said that the plebiscite would involve two important principles

  • "Firstly, we should cherish and celebrate difference.

  • Secondly we should recognise the crucial value of treating people equally."

The readers of The Journal's article posted 118 comments. Only 15 dealt with same-sex marriage. The need for marriage equality appears to be a settled matter among the readers of that media outlet and perhaps also of the people of Ireland.

Michael O'Kane, the Political Editor of the Irish Examiner wrote:

"Ted O'Connell from Bishopstown West warned delegates next year's referendum was not about what happened in people's bedrooms. It was about equality of esteem and equality of relationships.

Speaking on a motion supporting gay marriage, where there were no speakers against, Mr O'Connell read out a message he had recently received on Facebook describing the plight of gay people in many countries.

'If I lived in Uganda this week I would be jailed for life. My friends and family would be jailed if they didn't report me. If I lived in Russia I wouldn't exist but if I did I would be hunted and abused,' he said.

'If I lived in Iran I would be hanged. If I lived in some parts of Africa I could be stoned or burned to death. If I lived in some states in the US I would be [considered] an abomination.'

However, Mr O'Connell said he lived in Ireland where he was tolerated. He said while he was loved by many he was treated differently by the constitution." 3

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2014-APR-07: Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll shows support for same-sex marriage increasing:

An Irish Times poll taken during 2014-APR-01 and 02 showed that:

  • 67% of potential voters plan to vote Yes on the upcoming referendum scheduled for the first half of 2015.
  • 21% plan to vote No
  • 12% are undecided or did not respond.

The usual variations with age and gender was observed, as they are for every other survey on marriage equality we have ever seen, regardless of date and location:

Among young adults aged 18 to 24:

  • 80% of potential voters plan to vote Yes.
  • 13% plan to vote No
  • 7% are undecided or did not respond.

Among seniors, aged 65 and over:

  • 44% of potential voters plan to vote Yes.
  • 40% plan to vote No
  • 16% are undecided or did not respond.

Comparing the genders:

  • 73% of women voters plan to vote Yes.
  • 61% of men voters plan to vote Yes.

The opinions of 1,000 potential voters were sampled. The margin of error for the survey was ±3 percentage points.

An Irish Times/Ipsos poll during 2012-NOV - almost a year and a half earlier -- showed that:

  • 53% of adults planned to vote Yes on the upcoming referendum during the first half of 2015.
  • 30% planned to vote No
  • 17% are undecided or did not respond. 4

Since most people in a public opinion poll of this type who report as undecided tend to vote "No", the 2012 poll showed that there was at least a possibility that the referendum would be rejected. But the 2014 poll shows that the upcoming referendum -- if it had been voted upon in early 2014 -- would be overwhelmingly in favor of marriage equality by perhaps a 2:1 ratio.

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Tiernan Brady, writing for the The Journal on 2014-NOV-03, said:

"The referendum is a once-in-a-generation moment. It offers us all the chance to decide what kind of country we wish to live in. A yes vote will send a powerful message that we wish to be a country where all are cherished equally. Extending civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples would make our society a better, fairer and more inclusive place for all. It will harm no one, and will take nothing from those who are already married. In fact, it will be a testament to how important marriage is in Ireland and will strengthen the core basis for marriage -– the social and legal recognition and protection of the love and commitment that a couple wish to make to each other. Lesbian and gay people want to get married for the same reason as everyone else: to celebrate their love, mark their commitment to each other, and protect their loved ones. ..."

"Civil partnership was a significant advance. However it falls short of full constitutional equality and does not confer equal status standing and dignity to committed and loving lesbian and gay couples. Only civil marriage equality can achieve this. ..."

"We can create an Ireland where a young LGBT person can grow up with the same aspirations as their peers – to be able to build a life for themselves, meet a partner, fall in love, [and] get married. We now stand at the beginning of a referendum campaign to decide whether all of us continue on that journey towards equality." 5

The Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL); and Marriage Equality have combined forces to launch Yes Equality. Their goal is to encourage people to register to vote before the cutoff date of 2014-NOV-25. The plebiscite itself will be held early in 2015. 5

It will be interesting to see how closely the plebiscite results -- which will involve only those persons sufficiently interested in the matter to be motivated to register and vote -- will agree with the actual views of the Irish public -- as indicated by well designed public opinion polls.

  • A large percentage of lesbians, gays and bisexuals will probably register and vote in favor of marriage equality because they are directly motivated, or because many of their friends in the LGBT community have a direct stake in the outcome. But they probably represent less than 10% of the population.

  • A large majority of devout individuals who follow a conservative faith group will probably register and vote against marriage equality, even though only civil marriages are at stake.

  • Many Irish adults who are not members of either of these two groups will probably not bother to register or vote because marriage equality is not a direct interest to them.

There have been plebiscites in the past in which a majority of voters approved of same-sex marriage. Cases in the U.S. in the states of Maine and Maryland come to mind, but these were held as part of a major election when a large percentage of the public voted. The outcome of a stand-alone plebiscite are impossible to predict.

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More developments in the future are certain.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Outline map of Ireland was supplied by D-maps.com. See: http://d-maps.com/ Used by permission.
  2. "Fine Gaelsays 'yes' to same-sex marriage ...." The Journal, 2014-MAR-01, at: http://www.thejournal.ie/
  3. "Same sex marriage referendum will make Ireland 'a beacon of light'," Irish Examiner, 2014-MAR-03, at: http://www.irishexaminer.com/
  4. Stephen Collins, "Support for same-sex marriage increasing, poll finds," Irish Times, 2014-APR-07, at: http://www.irishtimes.com/
  5. Tiernan Brady, "Opinion: The one thing people can do for same-sex marriage to pass in Ireland," The Journal, 2014-NOV-03, at: http://www.thejournal.ie/

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Site navigation: Home page > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM Menu > Ireland > here

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Copyright © 2004 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004
Latest update: 2014-NOV-04
Author: B.A. Robinson

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