Voting Yes for marriage equality in Ireland.

vote yes

A few months back, I talked about voting YES in a referendum. Now I’m back doing the same. Different topic, different country, but strangely, I can’t actually vote myself in this one, either.
Even though it’s an Irish referendum, and I’m obviously Irish.
Once you leave the island, you may as well not exist for the Irish government and civil service. They probably want people to leave so they have fewer people to canvas for votes.
I have missed a good many votes since I left home.
Some of them I wish I could have been there for. This is definitely one of them. There have been significant changes to our constitution before. This is no less important. It is more so, in fact. It proposes that we, the Irish, change our constitution to make it possible for anyone to marry anyone else. And to have a family the way they see fit.
It is apparently the first time in history an entire nation has had the opportunity to do this. Other countries with free marriage changed their laws in parliament.
Ireland has a well-written and strong constitution. We the people have a lot of power. Luckily, given the shower of gombeens that usually “leads” us.
This May 22nd, we can show the world that the Irish are indeed, an independent nation. Nearly a hundred years after our attempts to overthrow the heavy jackboot of a foreign invader, we can demonstrate a different type of independence. We are at last free from the shadow of a false morality, the lying claims of a moral superiority that locked up unmarried mothers, that made grandmothers pretend to have infants in their forties, that forced a lot of good people to do a lot of stupid and awful things. One of which was hide their true selves from the world – from their own friends and family.
I had a long facebook discussion with someone who was worried about the effects of this law on children. Not on the direct impact of having a gay parent, but of having to deal with bullies who might make fun of a child with gay parents. The person had witnessed a child in the nineties being made fun of because her parents had split up (yes, Ireland was that closed minded still then: at least some were)
No matter how I explained that this person was actually arguing against their own logic, the fear of children suffering because we haven’t changed the world to perfect yet led her to believe we should wait until the world is perfect before we change it.
I think this person is just not used to the world the way it is now, is afraid of change to the way things always were in Ireland way back then. I’ve since learned that the No campaign have purposefully brought children into the picture to muddy the waters…
I was thinking about old people today, as I cycled along a busy main street. A handful of pensioners were on the side of the road, about five feet from the edge, ready to make a break between cars. I wondered how they could be in such a rush as to endanger themselves. But they probably don’t see it that way. They have always jaywalked, and they’re not going to stop now. It’s why old people are the ones who don’t wear seatbelts – they’re used to the old ways. And they want the old ways to stay, sometimes. No matter how much pain and suffering and often death the old ways caused, and knowing in their heart of hearts that the new way is probably better. It’s why I don’t wear a bike helmet in the city (for the record, bike helmets are like low energy light bulbs: not the best solution to the problem at all – slow the cars down, make them a bit more respectful of cyclists and 90% of all serious accidents would disappear. In most car incidents, having a helmet doesn’t save the cyclists anyway). It’s why I as fast as I always did in my teens though I’m forty-one. But my daughter doesn’t complain about the helmet, nor do I feel quite right in a car unless I have my seatbelt on.
We accept the world we are born into.
That’s why we have to change the world now for our kids to accept the new reality as they grow up. They won’t make fun of the children of gay couples if they see that their parents don’t, or don’t allow it, if they live in a society where gay parents are accepted as just as normal as anyone else’s parents. I touched on this when I was talking about how Clarkson is a relic of an old world we don’t accept anymore.
Such changes can come quickly. Spain has had gay marriage for 8 years. It has only had democracy for 40. When I was born it was still a fascist dictatorship. Ireland has been a republic for 90 years. In some aspects we’re only catching up with the rest of Europe. But we’re finally here now.
We don’t frown on unmarried mothers or make unhappy couples stay together for life, or prevent them finding happiness with someone else. We frown upon counties who still restrict their citizens’ freedoms in ways we no longer do.
When the results of this referendum are out, we will be able to hold our heads high and claim a real moral high ground.
Show the world we’re grown up. Vote Yes.

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About davidjmobrien

Writer, ecologist and teacher

Posted on April 29, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I saw this in the paper today…

    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/silent-no-fears-of-shock-defeat-in-marriage-referendum-grow-31211350.html

    I don’t think it would be a shock to anyone who really knows Ireland… the rural illegal burning of the landscape this last month, the poisoning of endangered and protected birds of prey, all show that there is a silent contingent of people who don’t give a fuck about anyone else, or their rights, and a silent group of onlookers too afraid to out them. They did it for decades, and it seems they want to keep doing it. We can only hope the more enlightened younger generation can sway things. Of course, having a system where the young are forced to emigrate and lose their right to vote doesn’t help move the country forward, either.

  2. Reblogged this on David JM O'Brien and commented:

    Don’t normally retweet stuff, but since the day is fast approaching, just in case there are any undecided lads and lassies in my surroundings who might read this…
    I have two things to add since I posted this on the blog. One, is that it seems Saint Patrick was himself gay, so it you’re sticking to your no guns out of respect for the shamrock, don’t bother: https://voxhiberionacum.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/st-patrick-marriage-equality/
    The other things is that if you are worried that the sky might fall on your head because you vote yes, don’t worry – I’ve lived in Boston, capital city of the first state to adopt gay marriage in the USA, and I was still able to work in a Catholic School and teach kids stuff like evolution. Now I live in European country with gay marriage for ten years (yes, 10) and if you want to be off the wall, mad catholic, you still can – check this video out for mad catholic!

    from my window no less.
    So vote yes. Keep the no voters the ones with the masks on…

  3. It is great to be able to say that vote went the right way. And to see that map of Ireland painted green for going forward. I posted on the link between that vote and moving forward on equality in other areas, and on environmental matters. But here’s a link to another good news story from another green country – The green land. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/05/27/parliament-in-greenland-unanimously-approves-same-sex-marriage/?utm_source=PNFBimg&utm_medium=socialFBimg&utm_campaign=PNFacebook

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