‘Bullying’ yes side has already lost vote, say no campaigners

No vote campaigners “absolutely believe” the yes side has “already lost” the same-sex marriage referendum, despite “bullying, name-calling, and a shocking campaign of intimidation” by the Government and the media.

Mothers and Fathers Matter, the Iona Institute, First Families First, and a no-voting TD and senator made the claim yesterday.

Speaking at the event opposite Leinster House, Paddy Manning — a gay no voter and member of Mothers and Fathers Matter — said that if polls were accurate “[ex-British Labour party leader] Ed Miliband would be prime minister” and it was his view “48 hours ago this ceased to be on the wire, the question now is what margin will be for the no side”.

Mr Manning said that no voters have repeatedly been “intimidated” by yes voters and official Ireland, adding “you the media will have to examine your role [in that] as well”.

Citing his own experience, he said he has been labeled “the house faggot and the queen bigot by people who claim to be against homophobia”.

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“It’s [the alleged bias] mad. It’s mad that we even have to tell you it’s mad,” he said, stressing a yes vote would be “like throwing a grenade into the Constitution with the shrapnel going everywhere”.

The view was repeated by Independent senator Fidelma Healy Eames and Independent TD Mattie McGrath, with Ms Healy Eames suggesting one third of the Oireachtas will vote no but are publicly saying yes.

She said the yes side was wrong to “give the impression the no side is anti-gay” and that politicians were being forced to support something with which they did not agree.

Gerry Fahy of First Families First said the proposed amendment “will do severe damage”, adding “many people are very dysfunctional and this will make a bad situation worse”.

Iona Institute director David Quinn said the failure to listen to no voters concerns was like the “property boom when dissident voices” were ignored.

When asked, he confirmed reports that no campaigners travelled to Croatia, France, and the US to get advice from similar groups on how to prevent same sex marriage.

Meanwhile, Catholic archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin told RTÉ while “the days when bishops tell people how to vote is long since gone”, a yes vote could have “unexpected” consequences. “I’m not a prophet or a fortune teller, but [if the referendum passes] this will be settled in the courts,” he said.

Visit our special Referendum 2015 section for all the latest news and analysis

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