I voted for same sex marriage in Ireland.
That doesn’t make me open-minded, special, exciting, colorful, wonderful, exuberant, heralding a new Ireland, liberated, throwing off the shackles of Catholicism or any of the other nauseating clichés that have flooded Ireland’s media in the last six months.
It just means that I think my friend Richard should be allowed to marry.
And that’s where I and the Yes campaign thankfully part ways.
I didn’t go out to celebrate in Dublin, and I didn’t wave a rainbow flag outside the Panti Bar. I find the yes campaign’s cross-dressing, unofficial mascot, Panti Bliss, to be as vulgar, unfunny and crude as her name suggests.
I also think that ripping down no posters around the country was a disgrace. I hated the smugness of people piling up on Facebook with their “me too, me too” announcement that they were supporting the yes campaign, and most of all, I hated that not a single political party in the country told the truth – that gay marriage (yes, not the flat “same sex marriage,” it’s actually gay marriage) will be enshrined in the Constitution as a family, with all the adoption, surrogacy and other rights expected of heterosexual couples.
Personally I have no problem with that, but we had Fine Gael TDs (members of Parliament) on Facebook, sneering at the no campaign for suggesting that the referendum was about anything but a wedding ceremony. This is completely contradicted by the referendum commission’s neutral literature, which explains that all gay marriages will be considered “families” under the Constitution.
That means that if a straight couple wants to adopt and a gay couple wants to adopt, the gay couple can claim discrimination in court if they are turned down in favor of the straight couple. They are both families with equal protection under the law.
Any attempt to amend this by law will be a waste of time. Ireland is the only country in the world that has introduced gay marriage by referendum, meaning it cannot be altered, except with another referendum.
I just wish we had one political party in Ireland brave and honest enough to point that out.
Instead, we are treated to one mawkish outpouring of inclusivity clichés and “me too-ism” from every C-list celebrity wishing to get their name in the paper.
What bugs me most is the constant underlying theme from the Irish media that being gay somehow makes you special, or enlightened, or sensitive or clever.
No. It just means you are attracted to people of the same sex, absolutely nothing else.
I put it down to our political immaturity that we are so utterly enthralled with homosexuality, that we see it as somehow a test of one’s membership of the new establishment to be as fawning and insincere about individual gay people as we once were about bishops and priests.
Yet, in the interests of sounding revolutionary, our media and politicians act as if voting yes was somehow a massive upset, rather than confirming the social reality of an Ireland that changed a long time ago.
Standing beside Panti Bliss after the announcement at Dublin Castle was Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who told The New York Times, “There are two Irelands, the elite Ireland and the hidden Ireland. And today the hidden Ireland spoke.”
He has got to be kidding. There wasn’t a single political party in the country supporting the no campaign. They were vastly underfunded compared to the yes campaign and got less than 40 percent of the vote. And somehow, they are “the elite.”
I voted yes, and proudly so, for my friend Richard. Not for Gerry Adams, not for Panti Bliss, not for the shiny, trendy, nauseating new establishment.
I hope, by the time Richard gets married, the clamor for media attention will have died down. I hope, for his sake, he can get married like everyone else – in peace, and with respectful dignity. I saw very little of it this week.