WHETHER one is homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning is a private matter. Nor is it of much significance that several prominent homosexual politicians, pop stars and GAA footballers have ‘come out’.
All of that is to the good in acknowledging that people of different sexual orientation are components of the diverse nature of Irish society. So well done to the ‘gay’ lobby for breaking down barriers!
But, as with any group that engages successfully in the manipulation of public debate, more wants more. First there was ‘Civil Partnership’ legislation for same-sex couples, then came the Family and Relationships Bill which dealt with donor assisted human reproduction, and now we have the amendment to the Constitution.
On May 22nd, voters will be asked to say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ if they agree to a redefinition of marriage as ‘a union between two persons without distinction as to their sex’.
This controversial interpretation of marriage is making people very edgy because to alter the Constitution involves a legalistic step into the unknown – and no one is sure what the consequences will be for society.
Equality of love
This Referendum is contentious in the extreme. Not even Joseph Stalin, who embarked on a total reconfiguration of Soviet society, dared remodel marriage to the extent that we are now setting out to do!
The ‘gay’ camp says it does not want to harm or offend and is seeking the acceptance of homosexuals in mainstream society (no problem there). At the same time, it wants to establish what it calls the ‘equality of love’.
When we hear that, our enthusiasm for gay rights begins to shrivel. The phrase ‘equality of love’ is a jingle best suited to a cringe-inducing Valentine’s Day card.
Does it denote equal opportunity (in love), racial equality (in love), balance, parity, likeness, compatibility, fair play, sameness, or level pegging (in love)?
Or did the ‘gay’ lobby introduce the ‘equality’ word to suggest brazenly that the hardships endured by Irish homosexuals have a parallel in Martin Luther King’s struggle for civil rights, and with the brothers getting the lard beaten out of them in Selma?
Nor do we buy into another of the ‘gay’ banalities: the gibberish ‘freedom to love’ expression. It sounds like a line pinched from the appalling British comedy, ‘Sex Lives of the Potato Men’. When used in connection with the same-sex marriage argument, the phrase turns the hallowed institution that unites two people into a saccharine, cloying, mushy experience.
All about children
Little wonder, then, that ‘straights’ will be concerned should the Yes side win. ‘Straights’ do not perceive the referendum to be solely about extending the right of marriage to a small number of oppressed people. Nor are they convinced that only those of the homosexual persuasion will be affected.
Irish Examiner columnist, Margaret Hickey, wisely put her finger on the fundamental point at issue. This referendum, she wrote, is all about children.
‘It is the article on the family (Article 41) that we are being asked to amend. Marriage is contained within that article as the institution upon which the family is founded. Therefore, the right to marry also includes the right to found a family,’ she said.
To paraphrase Ms Hickey, our Constitution pledges to protect the family from attack. But, she questions, if that is so, how can a law permit the deliberate denial of genetic identity to a child, when for millennia society recognised the family – mother and father (female and male) – as the primary social unit?
The ethically problematic surrogacy device, she suggests, is not a solution to the contradiction at the heart of the referendum, which is this: two men can never give a child a mother and a father, and two women can never give a child a mother and a father.
Those who say otherwise are promoting the notion, indirectly or otherwise, that ‘marriage equality is really inequality for children’.
Good for business
Oh, and let’s not ignore the myth that gays are an oppressed minority of heroes. How could they be, while at the same time they enjoy the backing of Official Ireland and of its agencies – political, media, and commercial – that make a living from hyperbole and hypocrisy?
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, his entire party and the vast majority of Dáil Eireann, want to see marriage ‘extended in definition’. Joan Burton called for the country to be ‘on the right side of history,’ as did Mickey Martin.
The IDA announced that a Yes vote in the referendum would be ‘good for business’ and that a No vote would send a ‘very negative signal’. Not a shred of evidence exists anywhere in the world to show that same-sex marriage has a bearing on economic performance.
The Gardaí stridently came out in favour of a Yes vote, editorialising in their official publication, ‘The Garda Review,’ that ‘only the remnants of bigotry and unenlightened thinking could animate anyone who disagrees with redefining marriage’. Talk about intolerance!
Former Supreme Court judge Catherine McGuinness posed with a garda in support of the Yes camp, earning for her troubles a rap across the knuckles from former Northern Police Ombudsman, Nuala O’Loan. ‘How could anyone be indifferent to gardaí becoming so partisan, given the implications it has for our democracy,’ Ms O’Loan quite correctly asked.
A new morality
The Irish Times called for the establishment of a ‘homophobia watchdog’ and warned that ‘free speech was not a free pass to inflict psychological trauma’. In fact, those who believe marriage solely should be between a man and a woman are the people being demonised.
The ‘elite’ has accused them of jeapordising Ireland’s economic future, wreaking psychological and emotional havoc on adults and children, and of possessing socially destabilising, warped ideas.
And because of the authoritarian-style national covenant that decided gay marriage was the best thing since sliced pan, the pertinent issues have not been properly debated.
So, what accounts for the intolerance and intimidation? Brendan O’Neill, editor of the online Leftist magazine, Spiked, thinks he has the answer. Politicians, the media, business and the lobby groups are using the marriage issue as a tool to impose a new pseudo-progressive, consensual morality on society.
He said: ‘If you knock gay marriage you are upsetting Western elites’ efforts to establish a new morality that simplistically distinguishes between Us (good, kind, liberal backers of gay marriage) and Them (the old, the religious, the outdated, the Other).
‘The Irish state needs gay marriage for the same reason Obama and Cameron need it – to send a signal about its elitist progressivism, its decency in comparison to the old world, the old people, the old outlook’.
In other words, the exploitation of gay marriage gives the elites a new sense of purpose. And that is depressing.