Saturday, 23 May 2015

Ireland Votes for Same Sex Marriage

The votes have not even been counted but tallies have told the story.  The Irish people have voted in favour of same sex marriage by a big majority.

Even massive anti-Government anger over austerity  did not prevent the electorate from supporting what was in fact a Government proposition.

The campaign was hard and sometimes bitter.  The Catholic bishops threw their weight in against the YES vote.  Their voice was ignored.

Tens of thousands of emigrants returned for the referendum.  Tens of thousands of stories were told - heart-breaking stories of prejudice and bullying endured by young lovers whose love was not allowed to speak its name. Not so long ago, homosexuality was a criminal offence in Ireland. Not so long ago a gay man was murdered in Fairview Park and his murderers paraded openly celebrating his murder.

Gradually, with the bravery of people like David Norris who took a case to the European Court of Human Rights and won, things have changed.

Today's referendum win is a sea change for the better for Ireland.
Other brave people in the public eye like journalist Una Mullally, TV3's Ursula Halligan, Government minister Leo Varadkar as well as leading GAA and other sportspeople "came out" and declared themselves lesbian or gay.  Their courage has been rewarded today.  They have helped make Ireland a better society. 

No comments: