On May 22nd in Ireland we will be asked to vote on whether to add to the Constitution that “marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex”
And this is causing something of a fuss. A lot of groups are having a say in this, with some coming out (sorry) in favour of a ‘yes’ vote, and some promoting a ‘no’ vote.
The ‘No’ camp have a number of arguments that they feel are compelling:
Every Child Is Entitled To A Mother And A Father
On the face of it, this can look lovely. An idyllic world where we all have a mum and dad.
Of course it does tend to gloss over a few uncomfortable facts of life. Men and women can be cruel, spiteful people. Some are incompetent, and some should never have become parents. Sometimes children are better off without said mother (or father).
So, while they may cry that somebody should ‘think of the children’, a bit more thinking could change their point of view.
This Will Undermine Marriage
As I see it, I married for love. Pretty sure my wife is of the same opinion. Marriage is a bond between two people who love each other. Two people who love each other. Simple as that.
The argument sounds familiar. Could this be because we heard the same thing when divorce was leglaised in 1996? And yet, marriage still seems to be a choice for a lot of adults. Not undermined yet.
This Will Promote a Homosexual Lifestyle
Oh we could have so much fun with stereotypes here. Will Irish men be forced to become better groomed?
Really, this argument displays an incredible ignorance of the nature of sexuality. Some people are hetero, some are gay. Most of us would agree with the concept that sexuality is not based on choice. If I spend time talking to a gay friend, then I don’t think that time spent will end up in my going… “hmmm, I wonder if…”
If the referendum passes, I don’t think that we’re going to be faced with gay peoples canvassing straight couples (or singles) trying to get them to shift camp (sorry again)
Marriage Is About Having Children
For many people this is true. Lots of people get married and want to go on to have children. Relatively few decide to go through life without ever having children. And yet this happens. Not having children is an incredible burden on those who would love to be parents. Again, the ideal world does not match the reality of the world in which we live.
Denying marriage to a couple simply because they will not conceive together is unjust.
On that. Gay couples are recognised by Tusla (the child protection agency) as being potentially good foster parents.
It Offends God
The bible is a pretty big book. And, if you read it, there is a lot to be learned and valued there. Lots of stuff about loving neighbours, looking after people on the edges of society, forgiveness.
Not so much stuff in there about the evils of homosexuality.
It’s Against My Faith
Ok. That I can go with. Many of us have our own religious beliefs. Many of us try to live our lives by a moral code that has been informed by our faith.
But, I need to recognise that many Irish people are not Catholic, or Christian for that matter. Should I be forcing my beliefs upon them?