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

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Part 9:
2015-MAY: Irish SSM referendum approaches:
Reporter Una Mullally recommends "Yes" vote.
Lead up to the plebiscite. Voting day arrives.

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LGBT symbol 2015-MAY-18: Reporter Una Mullally made her personal case for a Yes vote:

Writing for the Irish Times, she said in anticipation of the plebiscite:

"I think about the significant journeys so many people have made during this campaign. [Political reporter] Ursula Halligan, a class act, walking into the studio of Today FM to talk about coming out at [age] 54. Mary McAleese making the journey to Wood Quay in Dublin to talk about why she and her family are voting Yes. I think about the 19-year-old young lad from Kilkenny who made the journey to canvass outside Nowlan Park, and who stayed canvassing even when he was called a faggot by passersby. I think about recent emigrants, not gone out of the country a year, getting boats and planes and trains and taxis and buses back home to vote. 2

She referred to earlier plebiscites: the 1803 rebellion against British oppression, the Proclamation of Independence that accompanied it, and the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The 1916 document said:

"Give up your private resentments, and show to the world that the Irish are not only a brave, but also a generous and forgiving people."

Ms. Mullally continued:

"Are we brave? Are we generous? Are we forgiving? Or do our private resentments overpower us? I have no ill-will towards those whose faith or personal beliefs harbour opposition to my equality. If that’s what you believe, that’s what you believe.

But what is not fair is using those private beliefs as leverage to discriminate against your fellow citizens in this Republic. That is not brave. That is not generous. That is not forgiving.

This will be another long week, the longest in the referendum campaign, a campaign that has tested us all. The depth of its test is etched in the faces of tired canvassers, in the worn-down soles of shoes, in the loosened waistbands of those too busy or stressed to eat, in the tracks of our tears both happy and sad." 2

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2015-MAY-22: Lead-up to the referendum:

Edna Kenny, the prime minister of Ireland urged voters to vote yes "... for love and for equality."

All of the political parties in Parliament have supported the "Yes" vote, with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

A group of dedicated evangelical Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, distributed more than 90,000 anti-equality pamphlets during the week before the plebiscite.

Paddy Monaghan, a coordinator of the alliance of 100 religious activists said:

"We have warned in our pamphlet about the major implications on the issue of conscience if there is a yes vote on Friday. If there is a yes vote, will the Muslim printer in Ireland now be obliged to print cartoons of Muhammad? Redefining marriage is sold to us by the media and political establishment as a permissive measure but it will quickly become coercive." 3

The answer to his question would seem to be that the response of the hypothetical printer is totally unrelated to marriage equality. The only change to Irish society is that an additional 5% of its citizens will have the opportunity to marry. Whatever laws in the country that might force a printer to create something with which she or he disagrees or that give a printer the right to deny a printing request appear to be totally unrelated to the plebiscite, or to marriage equality.

Bishop Pat Storey, is the current bishop of Meath and Kildare in the Church of Ireland (Anglican) and the first female bishop in Ireland and Great Britain. She said:

"You cannot redefine marriage without including information and reference to children, family and the good of society. It is my view that, where possible, children benefit most from both genders parenting them. That is not to say that single parents who find themselves alone do not do an immensely great job in raising their children. Yet I believe that it is God’s intention that, where feasible, children should have a mother and father."

Henry McDonald, writing for The Guardian newspaper, said:

"Until this week the yes-no battle was coloured by accusations that opponents of gay marriage were misleading the public over claims about forced adoptions or same-sex couples having a supposed right to obtain children through surrogacy. The yes camp has pointed out that the commissioner overseeing the campaign has dismissed these claims and emphasised they were not connected to gay marriage.

In the past few days, the campaign has turned much uglier, with yes advocates revealing the amount of vitriolic abuse they have received. Irish Times writer Una Mullally tweeted a link to a letter she was sent that referred to her revelation during the campaign that she had cancer. The letter-writer told her:

'Sorry to hear about your cancer but maybe it is the will of God. ... After all you have been relentlessly pushing the twisted idea of gay marriage which would destroy the family as we know it and ruin the lives of generations of innocent children victimised by the narcissism of their ‘parents’. ... My advice is to accept that you are both homosexual and not very pretty, as there are far worse fates; you might be black for instance'." 3

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A reader of the Guardian who uses the pseudonym "reenimus,' posted the following comment to the article in the Guardian by Henry McDonald. It was one of 952 postings that had accumulated by the morning after the referendum:

"The fundamental point here, already made by many, is that I should not have a different set of rights from my sister if she were to choose to marry a woman or my brother if he were to choose to marry a man. It should not be in my power to deny anyone the right to marry someone he or she loves and wants to build a life with.

Voting Yes is a logical and rational act for anyone who believes in equality of treatment, based on rights, not the respective difference or similarity of the genitalia of people who wish to be married. My view is that much of the legal argument/concern is a veneer for something more sinister.

And for the record, my Catholic mother and many others of her generation will be voting Yes today with enthusiasm and passion from a belief in basic justice. Tying a No vote to evidence of the pervasive power of Catholicism, any other code or associated repression is a risky and misleading extrapolation in my view.

I work in the Irish Parliament, I look forward with hope to the enactment of the constitutional amendment legislation that will follow the outcome of today's vote. I am proud to be Irish every day, but hope to be even prouder tomorrow." 3

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This topic continues in the next page with some votes counted,

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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 See: Used by permission.
  2. Una Mullally, "We have come a long way but there’s one hurdle left," Irish Times, 2015-MAY-18, at:
  3. "Counting to start in Ireland's landmark referendum on marriage equality," The Guardian, 2015-MAY-23, at:

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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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