Voices from Ireland
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.