Family impact still centre stage

Both the no and yes sides in the marriage referendum campaign continue to disagree on whether surrogacy and children are relevant or not to the this week’s landmark vote.

No campaigners yesterday said the Government needed to “pause and go back to the drawing board” and give same-sex couples equal rights, but through legislation — not Constitutional change.

However, yes campaigners called the no campaign arguments “bogus” while politicians also pushed voters for Constitutional change.

Tom Finegan of Mothers and Fathers Matter (MFM), said it was “remarkable” that the yes side claimed the referendum had nothing to do with children or the family when this was central to Article 41, which will be altered if the vote passes.

READ MORE: Marriage Equality Referendum: Answering key questions .

“You can protect same sex couples with legislative change... the Government is being divisive saying this is not about children,” said Dr Finegan.

MFM said changes could be made to other articles in the Constitution which would not redefine marriage. This had been done in Portugal, the group said.

MFM wants voters to reject the referendum so the Government will “pause” and “go back to the drawing board” and look at agreeing to same-sex marriage through legislation.

However, campaigners for marriage equality said the no side arguments were “bogus” — especially any claim that it would affect children’s rights or surrogacy in future.

Fianna Fáil, while officially backing a yes vote, said its parliamentary members were entitled to their own thoughts after Carlow-Kilkenny TD John McGuinness said he would vote no.

However, Senator Averil Power said the no side were out to “confuse” people with “bogus” claims.

Elsewhere, Renua’s Lucinda Creighton urged all voters to vote yes on Friday.

“Much hurt remains because of the intolerance of the past. There is the hurt of our gay citizens,” said Ms Creighton.

“The hurt and concern of mums and dads over the dangers their gay children faced and still face in our society. Much work remains to be done to resolve this hurt and erase social attitudes.

“Friday’s referendum is the gateway to a country where gay people are accepted rather than just tolerated.”

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be among those to hold a press conference today as the campaigns come to a close.

Mr Kenny and Archbishop Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will both separately appear on RTÉ this evening to deliver a final message for their respective sides ahead of the broadcasting moratorium coming into effect tomorrow before voters go to the polls on Friday.

READ MORE: Marriage Equality Referendum: Answering key questions .

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