On the 22nd of May 2015, a country that was once known as an identity-stifling state showed by a 62% majority that they wish for all sexual orientations to be equal when it comes to marriage.
The incredible meaning behind this shows that we have departed from the religious domination that once oppressed women, children and anyone that the catholic church felt as ‘unworthy’ and ‘sacrilegious’. Not only did the church have such an impact; The patriarchal society of Ireland gave no security to women in marriages. They were essentially belonging to the husband and had absolutely no real rights as human beings. The Irish state as a whole was a patriarchal cesspit of oppression and cruelty.
When the referendum was passed, the LGBT community celebrated with honour and illuminated the streets of Ireland with their happiness. As they should have done. The arguments stemming from the opposition had no real purpose other than to garner negative attitudes towards a large section of people in our communities that have no other mission than to love each other and to belong. Simple as.
The question is, what happens next?
Article 41 of our Constitution now states that two people may marry irrespective of their gender. Now the inconsistent union of civil partnerships that existed under the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Co-Habitants Act 2010 will no longer be eligible. In truth, it did no more than state that two people wanted to be together. It was a status symbol that carried no real weight. As a same-sex couple, a marriage will glue the 2 together as one. A union of love and family.
Here are some facts on Civil Partnerships and Cohabitants for your lovely eyes:
- In 2011, the Irish consensus recorded 4,042 same-sex couples cohabiting.
- 1,695 civil partnerships were registered here from 2011-2014.
- 1,048 of these Civil Partnerships were between men.
- 647 of the Civil Partnerships were between women.
In Ireland, many different variations of families exist. Two parent families, one parent families. Some children are raised with their grandparents and they act as their parents. Some children are adopted into families. Some children, unfortunately, remain in foster care. Each of these examples show that the classification of a family is impossible to confine into one, clear-cut example – 2 heterosexual parents.
What was astonishing to me was the reaction from the opposing ‘think of the family’ groups. Not once were children mentioned in this referendum by any of the legislators. It was simple a scaremongering tactic they used to try to alter people’s perceptions of what the referendum really meant. However, I digress.
Children can now be loved by two parents. Two parents who have gone out of their way to give love, a safe home and everything the child could need. Isn’t that quite beautiful? Children are being born every day to people who aren’t ready, to people who don’t have the financial or emotional means to take care of the child properly. What happens is a great misfortune on that child and on to the wider society in general. I am not saying that some parents aren’t amazing. They are. I am just taking an objective look at the effects that occur due to these adverse factors. What could be so wrong with two people wanting to actually care for a child? Surely, there can be no logical argument here.
At the moment, the bill is being given formal consent in the Oireachtas. This is simply a formality so that they can sign it into legislation. Once this has been done, it will be incorporated into Irish Law. All of the rights and responsibilities that hetero married couples have will now be available to same-sex marriages. They state that this legislation will come into effect in September 2015. Some say even sooner. Let’s hope that with the introduction of this bill that people in same-sex marriages will finally feel the love and respect that they deserve.
The aim of this bill is for families to be established. Love to flourish. For a society to begin to gather themselves and create communities that distinguish themselves from those who hate and ridicule others based on their own discriminative agendas. We are a collective of people that should look back at the way life was carved out for others in our state. We should take that all in, and not ignore it.
Learning from the mistakes of the past allows us to advance as modern people. We should not incorporate the senile attitudes of generations before us that allowed such discrimination to cultivate and attach to our mentalities. We are a stronger people. We should be able to deter our minds and those minds ahead of us away from old-fashioned philosophy and towards a perspective that discourages discrimination.
We Can Do This!