A friend from Ireland reports on their referendum on same-sex marriage

Ireland 2015 Same-Sex Marriage Referendum
Ireland 2015 Same-Sex Marriage Referendum

I got an e-mail from a friend in Ireland about the referendum they just had where the pro-marriage side lost by a margin of 62-38.

He writes:

Hope you don’t mind the link suggestions but I’ve listed some interesting articles from the marriage referendum in Ireland. I’m from the North part of Ireland so I couldn’t vote but some of the vitriol and hatred from the so-called “tolerant” left was absolutely vile. From “all the no voters should be murdered” to “why don’t all you no voters jump into a well”, it was fairly clear to see just what the true colours were.

The slogans all around the country were “marriage equality for all”. By hijacking the term “equality”, this effectively suggested that any naysayers are just vile, intolerant bigots. It wouldn’t be like the secular left to shut down discussion now would it?

[…]What I think you may be interested in is the sheer scale of the bullying that went on here. “Vote No” posters were ripped down, eggs were thrown at no campaigners and a young child was even hurt at a demonstration. Virtually all discussion was closed and no debate was allowed with respect to the politicians. All parties were enforcing the whip and any dissenters would no doubt be expelled from the party. Then you have to throw in the huge corporations that have offices in Ireland like Google, Microsoft and Twitter. They all have policies which promote diversity and inclusion so how would any no-voters who happen to be employees of these companies feel when their employer takes a political stance?

He understands the problem with the redefinition of marriage so that it is based on “love” rather than a lifelong commitment centered around producing and raising children:

What frustrates me about this slogan is that they absolutely were not about “marriage equality for all”. They still place limits on marriage such as close relatives, young children or indeed other topologies of relationship such as polyamory.

It seems to be that marriage in Ireland from this point forward is just some genderless institution for the purposes of validating love. Perhaps the government will introduce some means-testing to ensure that the love of those involved really is valid!

Yes, that’s the problem with love, it comes and goes. And that’s why male-male and female-female relationships are so short lived. If marriage is about feelings of love and self-fulfillment, rather than the needs of the children you make to have a mom and a dad who love them and care about them, then it does not last. Period. (Aside: and that’s why you never marry a woman who rejects responsibilities, expectations, and obligations for fun and thrills!)

Here are his three links:

  1. Ireland’s ‘tolerant’ elite now demonise anyone who opposes gay marriage
  2. Ireland’s gay marriage vote was never an equal contest
  3. Asking questions about funding for referendum campaign

I had already read the first two, but not the third. I really recommend reading the first one, so you can reflect on where your money is going when you choose to patronize big corporations, and when you vote for parties on the secular left, as many Christians do.

Just briefly from the first:

The president, Michael D Higgins, and the prime minister, Enda Kenny, back gay marriage. So does virtually every politician. Indeed, the main parties are enforcing the party whip on gay marriage, meaning any Senator or TD who votes against it is likely to be expelled from his or her party. According to the Irish Independent, even politicians who harbour ‘reservations about this major legislative change’ are not speaking out, ‘for fear of disobeying the party whip’.

[…]The public sector also backs gay marriage. It’s apparently being strongarmed to do so. According to one dissenting politician — the only one — ‘agencies who receive state funding are being pressured [by officials] into supporting a Yes vote’.

Silicon Valley is fully behind Yes: Twitter, Google and eBay have all come out for gay marriage. Twitter’s Irish boss says a Yes victory will enhance ‘Ireland’s international reputation’ — another way of saying that if you vote No, you are damaging your own country. Even the police are saying Yes: the Garda Representative Association caused a stir by calling on its members to support gay marriage, leading some to wonder if it’s right for coppers to stick their truncheons into politics.

So, the armed wing, political wing and chattering wing of the Irish elite is behind Yes.

The second article mentions that U.S.-based gay activist groups bankrolled the Yes side effort:

I suppose it is possible that the vote would have been quite as conclusive – roughly 60:40 – if the debate had not been both staggeringly one-sided and the Yes campaign had not been bankrolled so overwhelmingly by US pressure groups. Certainly the youth vote would have gone that way anyway.

[…]But one of its in-house dissidents – the impression of balance is desirable – is Breda O’Brien, a Catholic commentator, who rather put the cat among the pigeons with a piece on 9 May on the funding for the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) and other lobby groups by a US organisation called Atlantic Philanthropies. The striking thing about the donations was not just their size – $4.7 million to Glen in 2005-11, nearly $475,000 to Marriage Equality; some $11.5 million to the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, 2001-213 – but that they refer to years before the referendum debate got under way. I can’t wait to see the actual figures for the campaign itself. By comparison the No campaign got by, I gather, on a shoestring budget of about 200,000 euros.

So when friends of mine found that when they entered a shopping centre in Limerick by one entrance on Thursday and left from the other, they were bombarded with leaflets from the Yes campaign, there was a reason for it besides spontaneous enthusiasm. One side could afford a PR campaign; the other couldn’t, though the papers heroically made the most of the tiny-by-comparison sums that US Christians put the way of the No campaign. The motives of Google for entering the fray are probably similar to those that made it take sides on the issue in the US; the referendum was on Friday, and you couldn’t open their bloody homepage without being told it was in favour of marriage equality.

The third article he mentioned talks about how well gay activist organizations were funded. While Christians are giving away billions to feed the hungry and help the poor, our freedom to speak and practice our religion was being removed by groups with very different priorities.

My friend writes, in a second e-mail:

If I was a blogger here I’d be asking three things this morning…
  1. If marriage is now a genderless institution focused only on adult love, is the government going to propose a new institution that is solely focused on children?
  2. If marriage is now purely about a validation of love then wouldn’t it be wise of the government to consider investigating the depth and sincerity of this love before before handing out marriage licences? They surely wouldn’t want to validate a relationship where the two parties weren’t really in love. Some sort of means-test perhaps? /irony
  3. Given the slogans aiming for marriage equality for all, at which point does the government plan to remove the current limits that restrict marriage to two persons?

My question would be this: when will Christians realize that they are under attack and start redirecting funds to pro-marriage groups rather than anti-poverty groups and big government? That money could have been used to fight back in Ireland, but instead Christians just seem to have their heads in the sand on how the world really works.

And finally, I want to add one more article to his list, about a baker in Northern Ireland who was fined for refusing to bake a cake that celebrated same-sex marriage.

8 thoughts on “A friend from Ireland reports on their referendum on same-sex marriage”

  1. From Donegal in the north to Cork in the south, a rainbow curtain has descended across Ireland.

    Being also in Northern Ireland, I can relate to where your friend is coming from – there has been a veritable storm of propaganda in the run-up to the referendum, to such a degree that no-one was in any doubt as to which way it would go. There were pro-redefinition polemics by major celebrities, comedians, pundits, politicians, and Facebook memes by the bundle… but no discernible pro-marriage voice to be found. Lots of emotion, but (unsurprisingly) very little of actual debate or thinking.

    The case with Ashers Bakery is particularly disappointing, given that it was such an obvious attempt at trolling. I hope that these events will snap the Irish church out of its complacency, but alas, I fear that our churches are simply not prepared for this kind of cultural warfare. Worse still, most are positively anti-intellectual – running almost purely on tradition and borrowed time. Oh well… our congregations might not know why homosexual behaviour is dysfunctional (if they even agree), but they sure put on a good flower display and bake sale. And in the end, this is what really matters, right?

    Thank you for covering this, WK.

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  2. Thanks for covering this. I’m also part of your Northern Ireland following. While the referendum result was depressing, overall it wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the fact that, as shown on your map, only one small area (South Leitrim/Roscommon) in the whole country voted against gay marriage. This is in stark contrast to the referendum to legalise divorce 18 years ago, when most rural parts voted against.

    What the referendum shows is that we cannot be complacent. Once the culture falls away from God it can move very quickly to embrace all sorts of sins.

    My own view is that the Church should be getting people prepared for suffering for their faith. Professing support for gay marriage looks like it will become a prerequisite for involvement in public life. We should be trying to learn from the persecuted church worldwide in looking at what we should be doing. In particular don’t expect your church to be able to remain a charity or to own property if it doesn’t compromise on this issue. It might even find difficulty finding a meeting place. Church structures should be preparing for this now, house meetings, bivocational leadership etc.

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  3. The media is trumpeting the Irish “landslide” on the “yes” side for same sex marriage. But is this really the case?

    Yet, taking a closer look at the numbers, tells a very different tale:

    The total population of Ireland as of 2013 was 4.6 million.
    Of that total, 3.2 million or about 70% are eligible voters.
    Of that total of eligible voters, 1.92 million or 60% actually cast ballots in the referendum.
    Of the total who actually voted, 1.152 million or 60% cast “yes” ballots, and 768k voted “no”.

    Notice two very glaring (and unmentioned by the media) facts. Of the total eligible voters (3.2 million), more people did not vote at all (1.28 million) than those who voted “yes” (1.152 million).

    Further, the margin of “yes” votes over “no” votes was 384k (1.152 million less 768k). That means that if a mere 192k had voted “no” instead of “yes” the vote would have been a tie.

    So, here is the “landslide” that is being peddled by the media:

    The total “yes” vote of 1.152 million is just 25% of the total Irish population and only 36% of the total eligible Irish voters.

    The actual difference between a “yes” win and a tie amounted to 192k which is just 4.2% of the total Irish population and 6% of total eligible Irish voters.

    Same sex marriage is now legal in Ireland based upon the votes of just 36% of its eligible voting population and by a crux vote of just 6% of its eligible voting population.

    This is more about voter apathy than any kind of juggernaut momentum behind same-sex marriage.

    That’s the “landslide” for “yes” in Ireland.

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  4. Springfield, MO recently voted to repeal a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity ordinance. The ordinance was promoted as a means to protect members of the LGBT community from being discriminated against by local businesses. In reality, it was phase one of a broader, orchestrated plan that would give special privilege to LGBTs and result in LGBT groups essentially policing local businesses. (You may recall having written about Lindsey Kolb, a student leader at Missouri State University, who was bullied for her off-campus involvement in seeking the repeal.)

    The campaign to keep the ordinance was largely funded by outside interests, namely the Human Rights Campaign. The campaign to repeal the ordinance was also largely funded by the Texas-based National Black Robe Regiment. But as you can read in the article below, three times as much was spent on the campaign to keep the ordinance as was spent by its opponents. A third of those contributions came from HRC. And HRC’s contribution was almost twice that of NBRR’s contribution.

    LGBT interests are very well funded and have powerful advocates in corporate and political spheres, as well as the media. (The editorial staff of the Springfield News-Leader, the local paper, also expressed their support for the ordinance. I’m surprised this exposé, or any dissenting opinion, even made it into the paper.)

    Fortunately, the ordinance was still repealed, thanks in large part to local church groups and the responsibility of voters. I can’t help but feel a bit of schadenfreude regarding all the money that was spent in vain in support of the ordinance. Of course, my emotions-driven, lefty friends made it a point to openly shame anyone who voted for the repeal and express their disappointment with our little city.

    http://www.news-leader.com/story/news/watchdog/2015/05/14/local-gay-rights-battle-funded-outside-interests/27349541/

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  5. In reading an article at the Irish Times, an org was mentioned – the Association of Catholic Priests (ACP).

    According to the Irish Times, pparently 1/3 of Ireland’s Catholic priests are members of the ACP. (I wonder how many more are members in spirit.) I googled the ACP and did a little reading there.

    In a recent ACP post, “What has happened to the Irish and their Church?”, the following is stated:

    “It was good that among the ACP (association of catholic priests) we split down the middle. Some were for the YES. Some were for the NO. Both views were understandable and acceptable.”

    ~ So it would seem that a large # of Irish priests would have voted yes. What a surprise…

    Also worth reading at the Irish Times is Breda O’Brien’s An Inconvenient Truth About the Same-Sex Marriage Referendum. For once they seem to have published a dissenting voice.

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    1. That is disappointing, I sincerely hope that this liberalizing effect on Ireland’s Catholic clergy and congregations can be reversed somewhat.

      One cannot overstate just how hostile Ireland has become to the Catholic Church (and to its priests in particular) since the various scandals started coming to light (child abuse, laundries etc.). I wouldn’t be surprised if many priests just wanted to avoid fanning the flames and collect some brownie points. I have heard more than a few stories of Catholics embracing SSM simply because they believe it will improve the Church’s public image for the better – needless to say, this is crazy.

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  6. The hostility to the Catholic Church began before the child abuse scandals. Those scandals were used and often exaggerated to push a social liberalising political agenda.

    I studied in Dublin in 1990 and found a widespread level of contempt for the church amongst young people. Coming from Northern Ireland it was quite surprising, as (on paper at least) church attendance and outward levels of religiosity amongst the older generation were higher than they were on our side of the border. The emotional intensity of the hostility was quite disturbing as, unlike today, we didn’t have much liberalism at home. Also there were very few NI Protestants who hated the Catholic Church as much as Dublin secular youth.

    In those days the big “liberal” issue was contraception. It was illegal to sell condoms without a doctor’s prescription. The Virgin Megastore (a large music store) in Dublin then started selling them in deliberate contravention of the law and then the law was changed in 1993.

    Much of the youth antipathy towards the Church was due to dislike of its teaching on sexual matters. I remember lots of “I hate going home because I have to pretend I’m a virgin and go to mass” stories. The young people who hated the church back in 1990 are now probably the leaders in business and the professions. They think it is payback time.

    It is amazing how quickly Catholic societies seem to move from being conservative to ultra liberal. Ireland is making that move, following countries such as Spain and Quebec.

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