Irish gay marriage: a bad day for the bigots
The world’s first referendum on same-sex marriage is today set to end in a resounding victory in Ireland for supporters of equality – despite last ditch efforts by religious campaigners to achieve a ‘No’ vote.
In the days leading up to yesterday’s referendum, bigots became increasingly desperate – and downright nasty, as Irish Times columnist Una Mullally, above, discovered when she received a hateful letter in response to news that she had cancer.
Mullally has been one of the most visible campaigners for the “Yes” side in the marriage referendum.
And she persevered despite being diagnosed with cancer just over two months ago, an experience she wrote about in a memorable Irish Times column.
Una said that this was by no means the worst letter she has received.
The writer did put a name to the letter but Mullally insisted she would not post it.
Earlier this week a group called “Friends of Ireland” issued a letter warning about the dangers gay marriage would pose to religious freedom.
The signatories – which included Fr Shenan J Boquet, the President of Human Life International, John Aidan Byrne, the president of Irish Pro-Life USA, Philip F Lawler, Editor of Catholic World News, as well as John-Henry Westin, the Editor-in-Chief of LifeSiteNews.com among others – warned that changing the definition of marriage in the US:
Has produced serious and troubling consequences for religious freedom in America, including limitations on free speech, discrimination against Catholics and other religious believers, and state sponsored coercion, characterized by harshly punitive measures against Christians and others who refuse to violate their consciences in this matter.
They pointed to instances of photographers, bakers, and florists among others being sued and/or fined by government agencies for refusing to take part in a gay marriage ceremony.
Even the Solicitor General of the United States admitted that Christian institutions such as schools and charities could lose their tax exempt status for refusing to recognize gay marriages. And children attending public schools will be told that marriages between people of the same sex are equal to traditional marriages.
The group wailed:
For three decades now, homosexual activists have portrayed themselves as victims of intolerance who are only seeking to end discrimination and achieve equality. The reality is very different.
Wherever the homosexual agenda has prevailed, homosexual activists have sought to use the authority of the law, the power of the government, and the money of the taxpayers to censor, silence, coerce, and punish religious believers who criticize, oppose or resist them.
Perhaps one of the most idiotic comments from the “No” camp came from Paddy Monaghan, one of the coordinators of an alliance of 100 religious activists which distributed more than 90,000 anti-gay marriage pamphlets over the past week across Ireland.
Monaghan, of the Evangelical Cross Denominational Response to the Same-Sex Marriage Referendum, said:
We have warned in our pamphlet about the major implications on the issue of conscience if there is a yes vote on Friday. If there is a yes vote, will the Muslim printer in Ireland now be obliged to print cartoons of Muhammad? Redefining marriage is sold to us by the media and political establishment as a permissive measure but it will quickly become coercive.
First results in at the time of writing show that over 70 percent have voted in favour of gay marriage in Dublin North West and Dublin West. In Wicklow 68.05 percent said yes to gay marriage and in Adamstown and Gusserane 52 percent said “yes”.
Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein President, pictured above with gay rights activist Rory O’Neill, known by his stage name of Panti Bliss, said:
It’s a hugely important result. I want to thank everyone who voted and particularly everyone who voted ‘ta’ [Irish for yes]. It’s a huge day for equality.
Final results are not expected until later, but it now appears almost certain that Ireland is on course to become the first country in the world to legalise gay marriage by a popular referendum.
The margin of victory is expected to be between 60:40 or even as much as 2:1.
Across the border in Northern Ireland, gay marriage is banned even though it is legal in the rest of the United Kingdom.
The Yes Equality group, the driving force behind the “Yes” campaign, said the referendum would:
Inspire other countries to pursue and secure true equality.