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US Senator Katherine Zappone wrote that if the same-sex referendum passes, “Ireland stands poised to become a beacon of freedom throughout the globe”.
The dictionary definition of ‘freedom’ is the right to act or speak freely. Zappone’s definition is different. Last summer, I spent two months as an intern in the Massachusetts Appeals Court, Boston. In the same building is the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. In 2003, a highly politicised, activist judiciary of that court held that the prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. That result is difficult to correlate with Zappone’s ‘beacon of freedom’. Schools now have a duty to portray homosexual relationships as normal, despite the beliefs or religious convictions of parents. The new ‘freedom’ does not extend to parents. Businesses in Massachusetts must now recognise same-sex ‘married’ couples in all their benefits, in relation to both employees and customers. The new ‘freedom’ does not extend to business owners. On May 19, in Northern Ireland, bakery-owners were found guilty of discrimination for following the dictates of their conscience and refusing to bake a cake in support of gay marriage. Is this the freedom that Zappone assures us of?
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