On Friday, Irish voters were choosing whether to change the country’s constitution to allow same-sex marriage.
The reform is championed by important employers and famous celebs and backed by all political parties. All expect that it will mark a transformation in the last country in Western Europe decriminalising homosexuality.
According to ABC News, opponents are convinced that the move would give greater rights to gay couples to adopt or have surrogate children but the commission overseeing the vote has declined it, as has former equality minister and yes vote campaigner, Pat Carey.
“This referendum is about children, but it’s about children who are gay,” he said.
“My message to people is that if you believe in equality, do not be complacent, do not leave it to others,” said Prime Minister Enda Kenny, a practicing Catholic who has spoken of his personal journey to become a leading advocate for gay marriage.
“Say yes, yes to inclusion, yes to rights, yes to love, yes to equality. Take away those burdens for people and let them be who they are.”
Meanwhile, the church is careful enough not to debate actively. Vice versa, it has been releasing carefully worded statements.
“I believe that civil partnerships give gay people clear civil rights and recognition as people committed to one another, and I fully endorse this,” Pat Storey, Ireland’s first female bishop, wrote in a letter to her clergy this week in explaining her “No” vote. “However, I do not think this requires the redefinition of marriage to uphold it, and I do not believe marriage should be redefined,”reports USA Today.
Ireland introduced legislation on civil unions for same-sex couples in 2010. While marriage is protected under the country’s constitution, partnerships are not, meaning that these rights can theoretically be revoked by future lawmakers. By contrast, changes to Ireland’s constitution require a national referendum.
“I think the days when bishops tell people how to vote is long since gone but we have constantly said this is not a simple thing,” Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said.
“Marriage isn’t just about two people falling in love, marriage and family and children are all linked together and you can’t tear them apart.”
“Ireland is already ahead of the curve in comparison to Australia when it comes to gay rights and if we pass this it will put more pressure on Australian politicians to introduce marriage equality there,” Mark Govern, who works in Sydney but flew home to cast his vote, reads the Irish Independent.
Hash tag The #HomeToVote is trending in social networks.The musician Hozier noted he was “flying in to vote” and that it’s “the most important thing you’ll do. Don’t forget!”