[Noel Whelan at the MacGill Summer School in Donegal, 2011]
The suggestion that anyone who disagrees with full equality for gays and lesbians is homophobic is surely a misuse of the word.
An overwhelming majority of our parents’ and our grandparents’ generation opposed equal rights for gays and lesbians; indeed most of them supported the continued criminalisation of homosexuality.
To many of us today that seems irrational on their part, but which of us would brand our parents or grandparents as a shower of homophobes?
Calling opponents homophobes may bring some level of satisfaction to those who do it and may attract cheers of applause in their own circles and on microblogs in the liberal realm, but it does nothing to advance the cause of debate.
It is also counterproductive in the effort to engage and persuade the mass of the moderate Irish electorate to support and vote for marriage equality.
Fianna Fail adviser and political analyst Noel Whelan in Saturday’s Irish Times.
I find it increasingly tiring being told by middle class straight men how I should feel about being gay. (Apologies to the lovely straights)
— Panti Bliss (@PantiBliss) January 25, 2014
Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland