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

Outline map of Ireland

Part 14:
2015-MAY-25 to 27:
Positive reactions to to the referendum.
Negative reactions by the Vatican,
who called it: "A defeat for humanity."

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This topic is continued from the previous page

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In this web site, the acronym LGBT refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender/Transsexual community. The acronym "SSM" refers to
Same-sex Marriage (a.k.a. gay marriage).

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LGBT symbol 2015-MAY-25: Fintan O'Toole describes how the LGBT community has given Irish democracy one of its greatest days:

Fintan O'Tool, writing for the Irish Times, said:

"The overwhelming victory for the Yes side in the marriage equality referendum is not as good as it looks.

It’s much better.

It looks extraordinary – little Ireland becoming the first country in the world to support same sex marriage by direct popular vote. But actually it’s about the ordinary. Ireland has redefined what it means to be an ordinary human being." 1

We’ve made it clear to the world that there is a new normal — that “ordinary” is a big, capacious word that embraces and rejoices in the natural diversity of humanity. LGBT people are now a fully acknowledged part of the wonderful ordinariness of Irish life.

It looks like a victory for tolerance. But it’s actually an end to mere toleration.

Tolerance is what “we” extend, in our gracious goodness, to “them”. It’s about saying “You do your own thing over there and we won’t bother you so long as you don’t bother us”.

The resounding Yes is a statement that Ireland has left tolerance far behind. It’s saying that there’s no “them” anymore. LGBT people are us — our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbours and friends. We were given the chance to say that. We were asked to replace tolerance with the equality of citizenship. And we took it in both arms and hugged it close."

We can only quote a limited amount of O'Tool's article due to copyright law. The article is really worth reading in full. 1

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2015-MAY-26: Positive reactions from some Roman Catholic priests in Ireland:

Fr Brendan Hoban is co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland (ACP). He said:

"It was clear from the beginning that the bishops’ decision in policy terms to campaign for a blunt No vote was alienating even the most conservative of Irish Catholics. ... [The referendum result showed] the gap between the church and a significant number of its people. ... It is so out of tune with the needs of the people. ... [[It was] another significant body-blow to the position of the Catholic Church in Ireland, ... [and] a watershed in Irish history."

Another co-founder of ACP is Fr Tony Flannery, He said:

"The day of doctrinaire Catholicism is over in this country. The people are no longer willing to listen to speeches and sermons on morality from the church. ... [what was] particularly sad was to see the bishops in total opposition to a mass movement of the younger generation. ... The very people whom the church should be trying to listen to, and trying to learn a way of communicating effectively with, were the ones they were driving further away with all their pastorals in each diocese"

Fr Seamus Ahearne, a member of the ACP leadership team, said:

"The church has faded from the consciousness of the population. It is no longer important what church people say. ... The church is very old. Those who attend are very old. It is most likely that the young ones who voted are not churchgoers generally. That is neither a fault or a problem but a reality." 2

Fr Gerry O’Connor, another member of the ACP leadership team, said:

"The result went as I expected. I really see it as legislation catching up with people’s lives. ... The Irish people should be proud."

Fr Iggy O’Donovan, an Augustinian priest was "absolutely delighted" with the result of the referendum. He noted that:

"... of all the moral referendums we’ve had it was the most reasoned, with pretty civilised debates. ... the intervention of Mary McAleese, as a mother with a gay son, a top civil lawyer and a very popular ex-president, struck a chord. ... [The church] has to realise ordinary people are not listening to us any more."

He said that he was “absolutely delighted” with the referendum's result of 62% in favor and 38% opposed, with 61% of registered voters taking part. 2

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2015-MAY-26 & 27: Negative reactions from the Vatican in Rome:

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State for the Vatican, responded to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's suggestion that the Church needs a "reality check" on matters related to sexual orientation. Cardinal Parolin that he was saddened at the referendum results. Sixty-two percent of the voters rejected the Church's teaching that marriage must be limited to one man and one woman. Cardinal Parolin said:

"I don't think that we can speak only about a defeat for Christian principles, but a defeat for humanity." 3

Pope Francis did not comment directly on the Archbishop's statement. However, he did refer on MAY-27 to the traditional church teaching that marriage is to be restricted to one man and one women.

Reporter Nichole Winfield of the Toronto Star wrote that Pope Francis, when he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires:

"... fought hard and unsuccessfully to block Argentina from becoming the first country in South America to legalize gay marriage." 3

The Toronto Star's print version published a small article about the Vatican's reaction, beside a larger photograph of supporters of marriage equality apparently reacting positively to the referendum results, while carrying "EQUAL" signs, celebrating, wearing jubilant smiles, and kissing. The contrast between the text and photograph was striking.

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This topic continues in the next essay with an editorial from the Irish Times,
and a story by one of their reporters on his reception by some in the LGBT
community. Both are very moving accounts of what the government, media,
pro-equality groups and general population of Ireand have accomplished.

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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. Fintan O’Toole: "Ireland has left ‘tolerance’ far behind ," The Irish Times, 2015-MAY-25, at:
  2. "Same-sex marriage vote an ‘unmitigated disaster’ for Church." Irish Times, 2015-MAY-25, at:
  3. Nichole Winfield, "Irish gay marriage vote ‘a defeat for humanity,’ Vatican says,: Toronto Star, 2015-MAY-27, at:

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

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Copyright 2015 & 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2005-MAY-23
Latest update: 2016-OCT-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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