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Religious Tolerance logo

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

Outline map of Ireland 1

Part 8:
2015-MAY: Irish SSM referendum approaches:
Deputy prime minister comments on vote.
Reporter Breda O'Brien recommends "No" vote.
Another Catholic priest is going to vote "Yes."

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LGBT symbol 2015-MAY-11: Former Tánaiste (Deputy prime minister) Eamon Gilmore comments on same-sex marriage:

Gilmore once described same-sex marriage as: "the civil rights issue of our generation." He believes that if the referendum passes, it will have no implications for children or for opposite-sex couples who are already married. He said:

"It’s essentially about equality. It’s essentially about saying to people that the love of a same-sex couple is no less valid that the love of any other couple."

He expressed concern that during the referendum, many of those who support marriage equality may not make the effort to vote, while a higher percentage of those who are:

"... highly motivated to block this referendum from passing will vote."

The result may be that the referendum result will not reflect the actual wishes of the public.

He asked that "Yes" voters not:

"... take the outcome for granted … Ensure it passes. Don’t leave it to other people." 2

John Kelly, a reader of the above article, posted a comment:

"Absolutely one million percent correct winding_down. The “no” voters will all come out and vote hell or high water, no question about that.

What will prevent a Yes vote from being carried is the usual affliction in the country -– voter apathy. The “sure it’s grand”, “sure what harm is it”, “sure somebody else will do it”, “sure home and away is on”, “sure it doesn’t affect me” brigade. The usual.

A NON VOTE IS A NO VOTE. That’s the reality. Get out and vote people, this is a civil rights issue. It’s too important to sit out. It’s going to be very tight. There are a lot of people out there that just want to cling to the status quo, particularly in conservative rural areas. If you want Ireland to progress then get out and vote. Otherwise you can site on your backside and wonder in 10 years why nothing ever seems to change in this country." 2

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2015-MAY-16: Breda O'Brien opposes marriage equality:

Ms.O'Brien described a very unfortunate event. An egg was thrown at a young girl about ten years of age. She was sitting near a "NO" poster. She is allergic to eggs and went into anaphylactic shock. Fortunately, her mother immediately treated her and she emerged from the experience OK.

O'Brien is concerned about insensitivity and intolerance from the "YES" -- pro-equality -- side. She wrote:

"Parents do not want their children to be insensitive to children in different family forms, but neither do they want their four-year-old being told that there is absolutely no difference between mothers and fathers, or brushed aside when they point out basic biological facts.

For a movement that tells us it is all about tolerance and equality, there is precious little tolerance or equality shown to people who intend to vote No, and precious little space to question new dogmas.

Were you consulted as a parent about your child being read fairy tales called King and King? Thought not.

Think about the dogmatism and intolerance of the new thought police, the contempt for the conscientious objections of others, as you decide which way to vote."

King and King is a fairy tale about a gay or bisexual prince who only found happiness when he met, fell in love with, and married another prince. 3

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2015-MAY-18: A second Roman Catholic priest advocates for marriage equality:

Father Gerard Moloney, writing for Irish Times, said:

"As a priest, I subscribe to the Christian understanding of marriage that it is a sacrament celebrated between one man and one woman – a public love commitment before God that each celebrant makes one to the other for life.

But it’s clear that not everybody shares this belief. Not all recognise marriage as a sacrament or give it any religious significance. They see it solely as a legal union between two people that is recognised and solemnized by the State.

The increasing number of non-church weddings points to this fact.

It is also clear that more and more people now believe this contract should be open to same-sex couples who wish to make a life commitment to each other.

While I see it as a sacrament, I believe it’s up to the citizens of the State to decide how they define marriage and who can enter into it.

And that’s how it should be, because we live in a diverse, complex society today.

Shrill as the debate has become, a referendum allows all citizens -- whether they live in Dublin 4 or Donegal northeast, whether they dominate social media or are computer illiterate, whether they believe in God or have no religious belief, whether they see this as being about human rights or about upholding traditional values -- to have the ultimate say.

[It is] Infinitely better to have the people decide than leave it to the Oireachtas, or not face up to the issue at all. ..."

"The God I believe in doesn’t ... discriminate against people simply because of who they are – or whom they love. God, who transcends gender, sexual orientation and all human categories, brings everyone into existence and cherishes everyone equally.

That’s why the church must be sensitive when discussing same-sex marriage. Its treatment of the LGBT community down the years has been appalling.

Its official language about homosexuality left many gay people feeling ashamed and confused when what they needed most from the church was love and understanding.

The church doesn’t have to change its teaching on marriage or pull back from debate about this or other issues.

It does need to take extra care, though, when stating its case, not just because of the damage its statements and actions have done to the gay community in particular in the past, but also because its abuse of power in the Ireland of yesterday demands it shows humility today. 4

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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. "Eamon Gilmore: Same-sex marriage has no implications for children," The Journal, 2015-MAY-11, at: http://www.thejournal.ie/
  3. Book cover image Linda de Haan & Stern Nijland, "King and King," Tricycle Press, (2003). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com
  4. Fr. Gerard Moloney, "I don’t care what they call it, I’m in favour of marriage equality," Irish Times, 2015-MAY-18, at: http://www.irishtimes.com/

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

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Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2005-MAY-18
Latest update: 2015-MAY-23
Author: B.A. Robinson
 

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