23 May 2015


"Oscar [Wilde] smiles in his grave." -- Stephen Fry

The vote-counting isn't quite finished yet, but it's clear that gay marriage in the Republic of Ireland has won resoundingly, with yes votes ranging from 50% in some rural areas to almost 80% in parts of Dublin.  Ireland thus becomes the first country in the world to approve gay marriage by referendum.

To anyone familiar with the country's cultural history, this is astounding.  Barely a generation ago, Ireland lay under the absolute domination of the Catholic Church.  Contraception and divorce were illegal.  Homosexuality was not decriminalized until 1993 (though note that even that was ten years before Lawrence v. Texas achieved the same in the last dozen states of the US).  The Church led the "no" campaign in the marriage referendum.

But every political party, and most other major social institutions, openly supported "yes".  The Church's millennium-old grip upon Irish culture and thought has been swept away in two or three decades.  And Ireland isn't alone.  Gay marriage is already legal in other former bastions of Catholicism such as Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, and other forms of social progress have made similar headway against the Church's opposition -- contraception and divorce, for example, are not only legal in Ireland but already fairly uncontroversial.

If the grip of theocratic bigotry could be loosened so much so fast in Ireland, it can happen anywhere.  Alabama, Mississippi, Iran, Saudi Arabia..... the future is coming for you, too.


Blogger Ahab said...

This is great news! Ireland's voters did the right thing.

23 May, 2015 07:08  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Now if only the U.S. would follow the lead of an enlightened country that in 20 years threw off the shackles of mysticism and superstition!

Sadly, the stranglehold of bible belt state and federal legislators will make this an uphill battle.

23 May, 2015 07:49  
Anonymous Burr Deming said...

Things are looking up for gay rights in the United States. I think Ireland substantially improves the chances of marriage equality happening soon.

23 May, 2015 22:20  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Yes, it's a great step forward. The enemy will cling grimly on -- they always do -- but we can all see who's winning.

24 May, 2015 05:44  

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