With less than a day until polling stations open, it’s time for the undecided voters of Ireland to face the facts. We asked two campaigners to explain why you should vote yes, and why you should vote no.
by Ken Curtin
1. Marriage matters to Irish society, it is the secure foundation for loving committed couples, and everyone in our families, communities and country should be free to marry on those terms.
2. As it currently stands, lesbian and gay couples cannot get married and do not have equal status under our Constitution. This amendment will guarantee constitutional equality for lesbian and gay citizens.
3. Allowing lesbian and gay people get married just like everyone else will take from no one and will have no effect on anyone else’s marriage.
4. Irish people are fair-minded, welcoming and confident. This referendum is about making our laws reflect those values.
5. Mothers and fathers want all of their children to grow up in a country where they can have the same aspirations in life. The parents of gay and lesbian children want the same. Nobody wants second best for their child.
6. Civil partnership was a significant advance and couples across every county in Ireland have entered civil partnerships. However, civil partnership falls short of full constitutional equality. Only civil marriage equality can achieve this.
7. All major children’s charities, including Barnardos, ISPCC, Foroige & Children’s Rights Alliance, are advocating a Yes vote.
8. This referendum is about real people; your friends, your family, your children and your grandchildren.
9. The referendum is about civil marriage equality. Churches will be able to continue with religious ceremonies and will not be required to conduct wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. Many people with deep faith from various religions are calling for a Yes vote including Bishop Paul Coulton, Fr. Tim Hazlewood (Killeagh), Fr. Peter McVerry & Sr. Stan.
10. Voting yes in the Marriage Equality Referendum will be saying yes to marriage, yes to equality and yes to strengthening Irish society.
Ken Curtin is a member of Yes Equality Cork
by Bruce Arnold
1. Two men or two women cannot consummate a ‘marriage’ as a man and a woman can. They are simply not “equal”. If a couple cannot consummate their marriage it can be declared invalid. If we pretend otherwise in the Constitution, we change the meaning of marriage.
2. Marriage equality empties the meaning of civil ‘marriage’ so that no one can avail of it as we now know it. “If I can’t have it, you shan’t have it either” is not love or equality, it sounds like envy.
3. In the proposed new version of marriage, gender would be irrelevant. If a spouse changed gender, even without the consent of the other spouse, the marriage would continue to be valid.
4. The family is founded on marriage. A married couple has a constitutional right to procreate. Two men cannot found a family without surrogacy or adoption. If you think that surrogacy exploits women, don’t create a constitutional right for two ‘married men’ to ‘procreate’ in this way.
5. If two men have a constitutional right to found a family, the children of that family do not have a constitutional right to the company of their biological father and mother or their siblings. That deprives children of a key element of their identity. It is adult-centred thinking, not child-centred.
6. The intergenerational dimension of the family and the critical role of grandparents, and of the extended family, would gradually be eroded with this new model of marriage and family becoming established.
7. Civil marriage and religious marriage are sufficiently similar to permit one declaration and one marriage ceremony to serve for both purposes. If we redefine marriage, removing the essential gender balance, the two ceremonies will be separate. This has not been anticipated or provided for. Many marriage ceremonies after May 22 will be subject to legal doubt.
8. The recent Child & Family Relations Act does not prohibit a brother and sister bearing a child by means of donor assisted reproduction. The State proposes to prohibit a marriage of two brothers or two sisters. If a brother and sister can have a child, why cannot two sisters marry?
9. Education policy on marriage is not just what is taught in the religion class. This ideology, heavily funded by Atlantic Philanthropies, is already beginning to affect every subject on the curriculum and other school activities. There are ‘Gay Pride Weeks’ for children as young as 4 years old. Parents will lose their right to know about this,or object if gender-blind marriage becomes a constitutional right.
10. Constitutional protection for civil partnerships can be achieved without redefining every marriage to mean something the spouses never intended.
Bruce Arnold is a writer and journalist.
After reading all the facts, how will you vote?
I'm gay and I'm voting No. Here's why.
Why Vote No? The one minute reason
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