19 May 2015

Voices from Ireland

This Friday, May 22, the Republic of Ireland will hold a referendum on legalizing gay marriage.  If the yes vote wins (and polls show it with a strong lead), Ireland will become the first country to approve gay marriage by popular vote rather than by legislation or court ruling.

For most of the twentieth century, Ireland was notoriously one of the most religious countries in Europe, though things have changed a lot in the last twenty years as the Catholic Church (the country's overwhelmingly dominant sect) has been discredited by the child-molestation cover-up scandals and other atrocities such as Tuam.  The Catholic Church is of course leading the campaign for a no vote, supported by Muslim and Christian immigrants who are small in number but fiercely socially conservative.

But the most moving testimony is that of individual voices.  Ursula Halligan describes what this huge expression of majority acceptance would mean to her after a lifetime resigned to loneliness and concealment.  Una Mullally writes of the positive spirit of working for the yes campaign in a country where prejudice and fear are still strong.  Fintan O'Toole, himself heterosexual, uses his own family to illustrate how the Church's narrow view of human relationships excludes many others besides gays.

A yes vote will be a victory for humanity and for human decency and happiness, and a decisive defeat for the Catholic Church in a country where, just a generation ago, its grip was firmer and crueler than in any other.

5 Comments:

Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

This is amazing news! Ireland , of all countries where the RCC has had a stranglehold for centuries! Never underestimate the power of enlightenment and reason. It comes slowly, but once it overtakes superstition, there's no stopping them.

Shame on US for not doing the same.

19 May, 2015 05:26  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Yes, if this transformation could happen in Ireland in 20 years, it could happen anywhere. Even Alabama. Even Algeria.

19 May, 2015 05:45  
Blogger Thomas Adkins said...

It's about time the people of Ireland cast off the church from their daily lives. And to think it only took exposing a millenia of clerical abuse to potentially turn the Emerald Isle into a modern, more tolerant society.

Éirinn go Brách.

19 May, 2015 21:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thomas: I'm sure other factors, like broader education which made people better able to see the absurdity of religion, played a role in Ireland as elsewhere. But for those who are otherwise unreachable, the impact of betrayals like the child-abuse scandals was, at least, impossible to ignore.

20 May, 2015 05:10  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

It's a great day for the Irish and LGBT rights!

23 May, 2015 06:33  

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