When Yes Means No

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Clarity, people.

Clarity.

Gallantman writes:

I went into a shop yesterday. City Centre Dublin. Almost six o’clock. I know the owner reasonably well. I know him to be a friendly, warm and intelligent man. We often exchange pleasantries. He let me in as he put up the ‘Closed’ sign. I went straight to the till, to speed things up, and noticed a ‘Yes Equality’ poster leaning on the counter. I pointed at it and joked that he had obviously made up his mind on this issue. At this he hummed and hawed a bit. He explained that a ‘Yes’ campaign team had come in the day before and he had left it there. I got the distinct sense that he wasn’t yet convinced.

We chatted some more and he made a general point that he reckoned a lot of people will give the impression they are voting ‘Yes’ but will in fact not do so. I sensed he was trying to tell me something. I listened to him. I said to him that I did feel that it was unfortunate that anyone who expressed doubts about the referendum were afraid to articulate these thoughts. We chatted some more. I felt an admission coming on and he duly told that as it stood he currently intended voting ‘No’.

I acknowledged his point of view. We continued to converse in a measured respectful way. I told him that I intended to vote ‘Yes’. I gave him my reasons- the fact that I see this amendment this as only a minor tweak to the Constitution. No big deal-no seismic shift in the social order as I see it. A no brainer for me personally.

At this point he asked about the actual change to the wording of the Constitution. I explained that to him, as I understand it. He then said that he had concerns about surrogacy and adoption and I clarified that they’d already been legislated for and wouldn’t be affected in any material way by this particular referendum.

He listened. We chatted. I explained that while a ‘Yes’ vote was no major thing for me I felt it may be for somebody being bullied in school or living fear of coming out to their family or friends. Another reason for me, for a ‘Yes’. With that he thanked me , told me that I’d clarified a few things and given him some food for thought. He said he’d talk to his wife later and we left it at that.

I reflected later on this exchange. It is a concern that the ‘Yes’ campaigners who’d visited him the day before had seemingly failed to address this man’s honestly held, if ill-informed and mis-informed views. It was apparent that he was afraid to publicly admit these doubts and ask the relevant questions. I feel it is important that people like this man- moderate ‘No’ voters are not afraid to be heard. It shouldn’t shock or surprise us that people who grew up in a theocratic, explicitly homophobic society may still have residual doubts and fears around such topics. Unless these lingering reservations are articulated they won’t be identified and potentially challenged.

The mainstream media discourse continues airing the same few  polarising voices. In the midst of all this there is a confused middle ground keeping their heads below the parapet. An Irish version of the ‘Shy Tories’ who came out and voted in such numbers in the UK last week.  I think it is vital to leave a space in the referendum debate for moderate ‘No’ voters to identify themselves. That way they can engage, without fear of vilification, in the type of conversation that I outlined above. Clarify some issues that are being deliberately obfuscated by the ‘No’ side.  I think the resulting voter swing can and will only go one way.

Earlier: No Fear

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

175 thoughts on “When Yes Means No

      1. Sinabhfuil

        +1

        There’s a recent This American Life actually dealing with people canvassing on gay marriage in California; very instructive material:

        http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/555/the-incredible-rarity-of-changing-your-mind

        One reason this referendum will change Ireland if it passes is that gay people will become respectable – they’ll just be Mr and Mr Murphy up the road, and could you ask them for a lend of their edging spade, and oh, here, bring back the hanging basket, I’ve repotted those tomatoes.

  1. Yea, Ok

    I completely agree with this. There are a lot of people in their 50s and 60s etc who are instinctively on the no side just through their upbringing. 99% of these people could be easily convinced to vote yes but some on the yes side are quick to denounce all no voters as bigots and homophobes. These people need to be convinced, not condemned, because they genuinely want to do the right thing but have an ingrained religious/traditionalist bias.
    I see the yes side losing a lot of votes by not engaging more thoughtfully with these no voters, and it’s important to remember that these middle aged and older ‘Mammies and Daddies’ are the ones who hold the most voting power.

    1. Mé Féin

      People in their 50s and up are also many times more likely to vote than younger people. The Yes side winning is by no means a certainty.

  2. sheesh

    Agree with this 100%. I think the biggest hurdle in getting this to pass are the No voters who are too afraid of the backlash and vitriol to acknowledge their position, and as such the Yes side are missing the opportunity to allay the fears and correct the misconceptions that the likes of Iona have been spreading.

    I noticed it personally when a friend of the family completely shut down the topic when my mother became quite vocal on the Yes side. While I’m proud of her for being so supportive of marriage equality, I think I lost an opportunity to explain the reasons I was voting Yes, answer any questions, and potentially get another convert

    1. Martin Heavy-Guy

      But this article makes a very clear point – if you are unsure and don’t see any reason to change things then why would you? The swing-vote people who are leaning toward a no because of fear might just be leaning toward a no because they are not fully informed. And that is a fair point for everyone to take on board – the no campaign is doing very well at the old-school ‘don’t change anything for the sake of the children’ rhetoric, and unless that’s addressed people will vote no just because they don’t know any better.

    2. JimmytheHead

      Awwww the poor No voters need a hug and a nice cup of tea to get over being told theyre bigots. If your views are backward enough that people stop you on the street to give you abuse, maybe its time to turn a new leaf. Ah but hey, this is good old fashioned catholic Ireland. Better off following a bunch of celibate weirdos in dresses who cover up paedophilia and dont pay any tax.

      1. Joe the Lion

        come on now jimmy

        never worn a dress?

        never even wanted to avoid tax?

        get up the yard ;)

      2. Martin Heavy-Guy

        Man please think about the point of view that you’re offering. If you read this story you can see that some no voters are coming from a point of view that they probably don’t understand. The man in this story might not have any gay friends, might not have any children, might not be connected to the world as it is now, and why should he be? My late grandfather, one of my heroes and one of the most important people in my life, would have taken a lot of convincing on this vote, and he was not only a wonderful and a very tolerant man. But he lived in a society that was intolerant, and it is not easy to change a mind-set once it’s established.

        I still feel this vote is a no-brainer, and should just be sorted out asap so that our society becomes a fairer and more egalitarian place, but to dismiss people as bigots removes the idea that they might not understand. Beating people over the head doesn’t help to change anything. Explaining to them why they might be wrong does.

        1. JimmytheHead

          Im sure people who get called f**gots and are beaten up for their sexuality, would happily continue this abuse so your grandfather doesnt have to feel awkward when he sees them holding hands in the park.

          1. Rob

            Exactly this kind of rubbish commentary and bigotry that the guy is talking about! Keep up the good work bud and don’t worry the water rates will be taken out of your grant money!

          2. Rob

            Nah I don’t offend that easy, you on the other hand don’t seem to have too much problem in that dept! Best of luck with your leaving cert!

  3. ToolBag

    Yes side are mostly dicks shocker! Yes will win the vote, and the 220 families who need this will be happy. But the divisions will be deeper than ever due to the way the campaign has been waged by the yes side. So. Its just fact. Already today I have seen hate catholic posts, hate midlands people posts, hate no side posts. A lot of people go to mass,, will vote yes, but will not like the way they were treated.

    1. Joe the Lion

      yes and last week they even had hate posts posts

      some massive fence-hating going on here

  4. Annie

    I am a passionate Yes supporter but does anyone actually believe these Marriage Referendum polls? The above post contains some very revealing and accurate points.

    Despite what younger people may think, Ireland is still a largely agrarian (and residually theocratic) society with all its positive and negative implications. There is still a strong sense of community in rural Ireland but in terms of embracing difference, only slight deviations from what is perceived to be the norm are permitted. I don’t think rural Ireland is overwhelmingly homophobic and most people are prepared to tolerate gay people and generally let them live in peace. But it is a tolerance that implies that these people must be content to remain outsiders and not upset the proverbial apple cart. This is a tolerance but not full acceptance. Sadly, it is well known that low levels of tolerance as opposed to open hostility can give rise to even greater discrimination. At some level I believe, that a lot of people still nurture base prejudices and simply cannot get over seeing gay and lesbian people as other however dehumanising and illogical it may be. Most people are not going to engage in any great enquiry about the Referendum, the vast majority will not watch debates and most arguments will soar over their heads. It is not because they are inordinately stupid but in reality the Referendum does not matter at any emotional level to the vast majority of the electorate and therefore sound bites about surrogacy /adoption and gut instinct reaction will take the place of any great thought.

    Ultimately, I firmly believe that if the Yes side win, it will be by the slimmest of margins. While most pundits argue that the Referendum is the Yes sides to lose, I rather think it is the opposite case. Make no mistake the shy No vote is huge, with some Yes campaigners privately admitting that counties such Donegal, Longford, Cavan and Monaghan are already write-offs. Perhaps now is not the time but at some stage it will inevitably happen but not for a decade or so. Ireland is not ever going to be a pioneer in terms of social rights. My own opinion always lended itself to waiting a few years longer, more acute now given the cynical and mendacious conflation with the CFR legislation. I desperately hope for a Yes vote and am doing my bit but neither am I living in cloud-cuckoo land regarding the strength of a reactionary No vote. In the USA, it took nearly 50 years, once segregation laws were swept away, for the vast majority of the populace to fully accept interracial marriage. The time line may be quicker now for marriage for same-sex couples, but not as quick as people think, even in the most liberal of societies which Ireland is decidedly not.

  5. Rob

    About time, now you Sir/Madame I could discuss this issue with.It is a pity that most ( and it is most) people voicing their support for a Yes vote are being dismissive of anyone of a different view as is evidenced on the pages of Broadsheet for example.

    1. sickofallthisbs

      I am surprised they actually published this letter – seen as they are usually so sanctimonious.

      1. Don Pidgeoni

        If I point out the sanctimony of those pointing out the sanctimony of BS in supporting the sanctimonious Yes campaign, how many sanctimony points do I get?

        1. sickofallthisbs

          7.5 because it is Moany Monday, not Sanctimonious Sunday (double points).

  6. Lu

    This is why it’s important to discuss this with your friends and family – the key thing here is that this was someone he had met before and chatted with. He was open to discussion. Everyone is more open to influence from those people they know.

    It’s easy to say Yes campaigners didn’t engage, but we are all potential Yes campaigners. I know that my first ports of call when I get home will be to the aunties and uncles and cousins. They know that I will be voting yes but they haven’t heard why. They don’t know my friends and their stories and how important this would be to them.

    1. pedeyw

      Exactly, most of the no side arguments are easily countered but haven’t been in the press, so it’s worth having a non confrontational chat with people whom you think are a soft no.

  7. Mister Mister

    “It is a concern that the ‘Yes’ campaigners who’d visited him the day before had seemingly failed to address this man’s honestly held, if ill-informed and mis-informed views. ”

    Maybe because he didn’t reflect these opinions when chatting with them ?

    1. Martin Heavy-Guy

      But that’s not the point that’s being made. Why would he reflect these feelings if he was not asked to? If the yes campaigners didn’t start a dialogue but instead just dropped off a poster then he might have felt aggrieved, and perhaps that’s understandable.

      1. sickofallthisbs

        Also, this referendum has brought a lot of new canvassers to the streets who probably aren’t as experienced as the hacks in FF, FG, Lab, SF etc etc when it comes to hitting the streets and talking politics – so it is understandable that someone whose intentions are good misreads a punter’s reaction due to inexperience or just doesn’t know how to talk about, or broach, the issue properly.

  8. Tony

    At this stage I’m starting to suspect that the most strident, self righteous and obnoxious ‘anti-no’ (as opposed to ‘yes’) commenters are actually working for the no campaign.

    And a cracking job they’re doing too.

    Fair play Gallantman. Tolerance, clarity and understanding. Not impatience or bullying. Well said.

        1. sickofallthisbs

          Demon boy? Did you read the post above at all? I congratulate you on your own stupidity.

  9. yrtnuocecnareviled

    Excellent post.
    We have found when canvassing that we are welcomed by “yes” voters but a lot of people don’t answer the door, they don’t engage or ask for issues to be clarified.
    All but one of our group are married heterosexuals with children. We have seen the hurt, the shame and the suicide.
    We want a better society for our children but I think 90% of families are unaffected or unaware.

  10. Supercrazyprices

    The Irish duplicity of thought will almost certainly make this a close referendum.

    We always say something to please someone but privately do or think the opposite. We’re a cowardly race when it comes to conviction. Probably why we must be the only people say to say ‘YesNo’ as a figure of speech.

    For the record I’m a Yes. No, I am really am a Yes. No, Yes.

  11. Nially

    I just find this beyond frustrating. We’re being unfailingly polite in public debates – the worst anyone has managed to claim is that Colm O’Gorman was a bit flippant towards Petra Conroy’s ability to get remarried. Yes, there’s a tone of calling the “No” side discriminatory; one of the unfortunate downsides of campaigning against unequal laws is that you will, at some point, have to (politely) point out that those laws involve discrimination, and that’s a bad thing. Short of policing the Twitter use of half the Irish population, there’s little the Yes campaign can do beyond keeping their own messages positive and polite, which they’ve been doing.

    I’ve been going door-to-door for weeks, and have never heard a single canvasser respond to everything from questions to outright hostility with anything other than politeness. Yesterday, one of our canvassers was told that he was ill and needed to see a doctor about his disorder. He smiled, thanked the guy for his time and didn’t respond further. YesEquality have been to tens of thousands of houses, and have the same policy of “just be polite, deal with their questions, don’t get angry or attack them” – if that wasn’t being followed meticulously, you can be sure David Quinn would be highlighting it now. The handful of people who’ve asked me to clarify stuff, I’ve been more than happy to help. If other people are saying “Yeah, I’m voting Yes!” and sending me on my way, I’m not clear what I should be doing to convince them to open up about their Shy No-ness.

    Like, genuinely, what in the living fupp more can we do? How are we supposed to deal with the questions of people who don’t want to ask them? The poster here makes snippy asides about the failure of the Yes guys who dropped in a poster to properly convince the owner; there’s a limit to how much we can force strangers to be honest with us in the way that they would with someone they’ve known for quite a while (even in a “long-term customer” sense), and if they don’t take the many, many opportunities that are available to them to find out more about the referendum or ask someone about their concerns, eventually you have to stop blaming the Yes campaign.

    1. sickofallthisbs

      “We’re being unfailingly polite in public debates” – good one – and your claim that your colleagues meet hostility with kindness is not credible either. Fact of the matter is the majority of those who campaign for Yes side refuse to countenance the reasons why people would want to vote no. People are entitled to their opinion in a democracy and a lot of people who doubt the value of gay marriage don’t feel they can air their views without being called homophobic or being accused of being under the thumb of the Church.

      If the referendum fails, the Yes side will only have themselves to blame for engaging in smear tactics and allowing such an atmosphere of intimidation to develop.

      This debate has been a disgusting episode in the history of Irish democracy and if an abortion referendum follows after this, it is only going to get worse.

      1. Annie

        This is simply a trite, superficial analysis and well-worn smear in itself of the Yes campaign by the No side. Most of the No side have togged out in the previous divorce and abortion referenda and adopt an approach tantamount to selective amnesia to their own low brow and base tactics during these campaigns.

          1. Annie

            The reason people are voting No has nothing to do with the conduct of the Yes campaign. It runs a lot deeper than that. An unfailing polite campaign would not alter the views of rural Ireland.

          2. Annie

            Lol. I stand chastened and rebuked by one with his finger so obviously on the pulse. On your bike dear!

          3. Annie

            @mikeyfex I do believe, as many rural TDs are pointing out, there is a very sizeable shy no vote emanating from rural Ireland. I would be surprised were this not the case. Yes campaigners have already privately admitted that certain counties such as Donegal, Longford, Cavan and Monaghan are write-offs. Despite what younger people may think, Ireland is still a largely agrarian (and residually theocratic) society with all its positive and negative implications. There is still a strong sense of community in rural Ireland but in terms of embracing difference, only slight deviations from what is perceived to be the norm are permitted. I don’t think rural Ireland is overwhelmingly homophobic and most people are prepared to tolerate gay people and generally let them live in peace. But it is a tolerance that implies that these people must be content to remain outsiders and not upset the proverbial apple cart. This is a tolerance but not full acceptance. Sadly, it is well known that low levels of tolerance as opposed to open hostility can give rise to even greater discrimination. At some level I believe, that a lot of people still nurture base prejudices and simply cannot get over seeing gay and lesbian people as other however dehumanising and illogical it may be. Most people are not going to engage in any great enquiry about the Referendum, the vast majority will not watch debates and most arguments will soar over their heads. It is not because they are inordinately stupid but in reality the Referendum does not matter at any emotional level to the vast majority of the electorate and therefore sound bites about surrogacy /adoption and gut instinct reaction will take the place of any great thought.

          4. Annie

            @mikeyfex In the words of Paddy Ashdown, I’ll happy eat my hat slash fascinator, if I am proved wrong! I hope I am but I do fear not.

          5. Mikeyfex

            A fair elaboration (an elaboration which I felt was required)

            One day the rurals will be treated equally.

      2. smiffy

        “Fact of the matter is the majority of those who campaign for Yes side refuse to countenance the reasons why people would want to vote no.”

        Really? I have yet to see it. Certainly I have heard about how intimidated people with doubts about same-sex marriage are, how they feel they have to hide their views, how intolerant those on the Yes side are. I’ve heard that from David Quinn, Breda O’Brien and the rest of the No side gang. But I have yet to see it in reality. Frankly, it seems to be a self-perpetuating, and self-serving myth. And the more they repeat it, the more people will believe it. It would be interesting to know whether the shopkeeper cited in the original post was nervous about expressing his views because of his direct experience of the Yes campaign, or because he had been told over and over that the Yes campaign is intolerant, without actually experiencing such intolerance.

        Nially has given specific examples of his (her?) experience of canvassing, but you’re ignoring that because it doesn’t play into the narrative of the campaign you’ve constructed for yourself. If you can cite some specific examples of prominent members of the Yes campaign acting in the way you describe, feel free.

        Of course, the Yes campaign is pushy. It’s a campaign. It’s supposed to be. The No campaign is also pushy, trying to push its arguments. However, it would be unreasonable for the Yes side to ignore the deliberate red herrings and disinformation being pushed by the No campaign, around issues like surrogacy or adoption, arguments that are demonstrably false, simply for fear of being labelled ‘intolerant’.

        At this point, it seems that the only argument the No campaign has left is ‘Vote No. The Yes campaign is being mean to us’. Just as with their other arguments, it’s not true. But they’ll stick to it.

      3. Nially

        ““We’re being unfailingly polite in public debates” – good one – and your claim that your colleagues meet hostility with kindness is not credible either. Fact of the matter is the majority of those who campaign for Yes side refuse to countenance the reasons why people would want to vote no.”

        You might want that to be true, but it really isn’t. Go on one of the door-to-door canvasses. See how we’re interacting in real life. Your understanding of the Yes campaign seems to be based on the Broadsheet comments section rather than the real world. If you can point to some examples from the various public & TV debates of the Yes side ‘engaging in smear tactics’ or intimidating opponents, I’d love to see them.

      4. Dubloony

        I’ve been out since March on this. For many the people who are voting no, its a cultural thing, they just weren’t brought up discussing any sort of sex let alone any exotic varieties. This is genuinely uncomfortable for them. Having a stranger call at your door to ask about this is invasive. I get that.

        But there are other people, the venom that they spout is extraordinary. Its also usually religiously based. We know there’s no point arguing and walk away but still leaves you shaken even as a campaigning veteran.

    2. Annie

      Your anger is palpable but I fear that what you are fighting against cannot be countered by polite and frank debate.

      As pointed out, you are fighting against a mindset, the product of a still agrarian and residually theocratic society with no real history or appreciation of social rights. Look at the Children’s Referendum which provides an outrageously low (and arguably meaningless) level of child protection and it still barely passed. While a lot of our citizens do tolerate gay people and have an ability to generally let them live in peace, deep down, it is a low level of tolerance hiding a degree of suspicion and reactionary prejudice that will eventually dissipate but not just yet. We are not alone in this. Had France the opportunity to vote on marriage for same-sex couples, the initiative would have failed. Given the foregoing and how gay people were perceived and treated until relatively recently with the added piquancy of a peculiarly hardline religious obsession with sexual mores, don’t be surprised if this still obtains and lurks in a frighteningly large section of our population, without them even knowing it.

      1. newsjustin

        I admire a lot of what you have to say Annie, but I think your view that Irish society “has no real history or appreciation of social rights” is patronising (and wrong).

          1. newsjustin

            Ireland is a, relatively speaking, very free, liberal and developed country. It has good institutions of individual rights, private property, healthy civil society and a vibrant political environment, etc. Any notion of straying away from that situation (heaven forbid anyone would want to) is checked by a free press, regular elections and a population that can influence politicians quite easily.

            Ireland could, I’m sure do better. But I’m not sure what you see as missing. Just because Ireland doesn’t yet have SSM (or abortion, or whatever you’re having yourself) doesn’t mean the claim that Ireland has “no real history or appreciation of social rights.”

          2. ToolBag

            You live in a fair first world country full of volunteers, charity organisations and people who strive every day for social justice. A long tradition of missionaries and foreign aid organisations. Where we look after our elderly and our artists. A place that others call friendly and kind. A country that won the worlds best country award this year. And you can’t see it?
            Do the yes side think they have some kind of monopoly on kindness? As john waters said, you have had plenty of opportunities to fight for equality before, but you were silent. Is it any wonder people are beginning to doubt your sincerity?

          3. Annie

            @toolbag I was giving you the benefit of the doubt until I stumbled upon this gem: “a place where we look after our elderly and artists”.

            In terms of the Irish legislative history and practice in social rights, at best we were Johnny-come-latelys, at worst we sent our undesireables of whatever makeup to their veritable deaths. Our recent history post independence is littered with the stories of those uncared for and unwanted by society. All very well to send some money off to Africa but I need only think of Ann Lovett in that Granard Churchyard in 1984, yes 1984 or the “gay-panic” defence loving Judge in the trial of Declan Flynn, who released the two men who murdered him in Fairview Park on this basis now regarded as a travesty of justice, to remind me what a fair society into which I was born. Of course we have evolved immeasurably, but perhaps not as fast as people might think.

          4. Don Pidgeoni

            Well, off the top of my head, you also live in a country where women didn’t have universal suffrage until 1928, well after many other countries, where omen were subjected to terrible things in the name of the religion and still are, people remain in limbo because their asylum appeals take so long to process and there is no appetite for reform, homosexuality was illegal until 1993, contraception available only to married people until fairly recently. Those are issues of social justice, not winning the Lonely Planet award for best country.

          5. ToolBag

            I prefer to see the good in people and there is so much to see in Irish people from Daniel O Connell to Countess Markevicz, James Connolly, Mary Robinson. I find it usually helps spread the good word. We are famous the world over for it. Moany people just drain and inculcate a habit of shame which helps no-one. Dragging Anne Lovett up is classy. next you’ll have Savita on a spike to back up some other spurious claim.

          6. Annie

            But you’d much prefer we would sweep them under the carpet. What a wonderful country where an accomplished consultant obstetrician in the Savita inquest admits she wasn’t able to discern the exact import of our abortion laws. Whatever the exact cause of Savita’s death, this is a most chilling admission. The Ann Lovett letters that followed in the wake of the tragedy and aired on the Gay Byrne show, exemplify the extent of our hypocrisy and cruelty and give a very different picture to the thin gloss you put on Ireland’s reputation in terms of social rights. Oh and you mention Mary Robinson, she was involved in the Norris case which went all the way to the ECHR – why was that? On your bike dear.

          7. Don Pidgeoni

            I think Toolbag thinks Irish society peaked at the end of the Easter rising. Any issue since is just people being “moany”

        1. ToolBag

          Its simple, you hate it here and will twist things to suit your narrative. I like it here and will see things for the good they contain. Happy day to you Miss Angry and good luck on your next bandwagon.

          1. Don Pidgeoni

            Its right, news does hate it here. But he’s like a moth to the flame so he is!

          2. Annie

            LOL – I suspect you are of tender years. Being referred to as “Miss Moany” quite endearing really.

            I quite like Ireland – we have come a long way but I am not deluded, there is a long way yet to travel in terms of making all our citizens feel valued and respected and this certainly doesn’t just include gay people. Ireland will never be a pioneer in terms of social rights but we will get there – sometimes it just takes longer than expected.

    3. DT

      I’m sure Yes canvassers are polite and many on the Yes side have presented a very positive and inclusive message, so I can understand your frustration. But I still think the poster has a point. The campaign will be won and lost on the middle ground of undecided/’could go either way’ voters and this is where the Yes campaign should be focusing its energy.

      Instead it feels like the Yes campaign is primarily preaching to the converted and much of its tonality is off-putting for undecided. They need to be persuaded not be made feel at best uncomfortable and at worst ridiculed. The AAA has a Yes poster with an aggressive looking, tattooed, rainbow fist as it’s visual image – who is that designed to persuade exactly?

  12. elsie

    Really good post, the irony is that some of the Yes campaign has a pushy vibe which will harm the cause and has the sort of intolerance that the ACTUAL Yes is vote is trying to get away from!

  13. Eamonn Clancy

    “Whatever you say, say nothing, when you’re talking about you know what.” People are saying yes because it’s the popular thing to do, and no one likes to be seen unpopular, but come Election Day when it’s just them, a pencil and a ballot paper…

  14. Randy Ewing

    I too am a passionate Yes supporter and truly believe that the No’s will win by an embarrassingly large country mile.

  15. jeremy kyle

    All this hand holding just to get people to do the right thing. But, I suppose that’s why campaigning is necessary. -_-

    I think why a “normal” No voter is so afraid of the backlash from publicly stating how they’ll vote is they become a lightning rod for all the anger that those fuppin’ posters caused and they’re seen as a honorary members of the Iona Institute.

  16. p

    I’ve found a large minority of YES supporters who I’ve talked to (and a few campaigners) are incredibly bad at making their case. They dismiss any sort of criticism or even genuine queries as the ravings of monstrous, bigoted, homophobes who should all have died a long time ago. No attempt to convince people, no attempt to argue their case: just blind adherence to the cause.
    I intend to vote Yes. But I am not convinced at all that it will be the cake walk that some in the YES campaign have obviously decided it will be.

    1. Kieran NYC

      It’s an incredibly awkward argument to ask people to make – that they’re equal citizens in their own country. I would imagine I’d get very emotive very fast.

  17. ReproBertie

    Nobody is voting Yes. The No campaign, when they couldn’t come up with genuine reasons for voting No, muddied the waters with surrogacy and the like and when the Yes campaign responded to their muddying of the water by pointing out the irrelevant nonsense they were tossing around the No campaign came back with the line that the Yes campaign are intolerant, condescending bullies and sure you wouldn’t want to be seen with them. Lord save us, can you imagine what they’ll be like if they win? Say nothing but vote No. Sure everyone’s doing it and the Yes campaign have only themselves to blame for not convincing people enough that everyone deserves the same rights and opportunities.

  18. Tomboktu

    <Pedant Moment>”He then said that he had concerns about surrogacy and adoption and I clarified that they’d already been legislated for and wouldn’t be affected in any material way by this particular referendum.

    Actually, the surrogacy question has not been legislated for. The original “heads of the bill”, which Alan Shatter wrote over his summer holidays, did contain proposals on surrogacy, but when the final bill was published by Frances Fitzgerald, surrogacy had been removed. The Department of Health is to prepare legislation on that (and has been ‘on the case’ since 2005: http://www.ihrec.ie/download/pdf/ihrec_observations_on_children_and_family_relationships_bill_2015_2432015_1.pdf).

    What is law are rules on donor assisted human reproduction, which are part of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015. That is not surrogacy though, because the woman who is pregnant becomes the child’s legal mother (even if the ovum is donated by a different woman). With surrogacy, the pregnant woman does not become the child’s legal mother.
    </End Pedant Moment>

  19. Tomboktu

    I do think that Yes Equality needs to add to its response to the concerns about children that many people have:

    The no side — Mothers and Fathers Matter and the Irish Catholic Bishops in particular — have appealed to voters’ feelings (both positive and negative); on the question of children, Yes Equality has appealed to their reason, hoping that the legal analysis and empirical evidence will be enough to persuade voters who have concerns about children. [Sentence in original containing error not quoted here — but you can see it in the original.]

    It is ironic that campaign formed by and led by lesbian and gay people should be struggling to get this message across. So many of us who are gay have deep personal experience of the conflict between feelings and reason in the period before we came out, and we had to let go of our deeply held fear. A challenge for our leaders in the next two weeks is to see if they can find a way to encourage and help enough of the 67 percent to make a similar step and let go of their irrational fears. The task is to ensure enough voters realise that the kids will be fine.

    https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2015/05/06/marriage-referendum-the-kids-will-be-fine/

  20. Jane

    Well I suppose it’s quite interesting, really. Origianlly the no side were content to lie in an embarrasingly transparent way to the electorate (for example, what was Kathy Sinnott on about on Vincent Browne? Does she think if I divorce my husband the gayer of us will get residency of the child, or if neither of us is sufficiently gay our child will be handed over the next gay married couple in the queue or something?) and, having failed in that, they’re painting us as bullies.

    They’re painting us as bullies because we answer back to their tissue thin nonsense which of course, the theocratic don’t like. What’s the point in believing in a god who made everything and judges everything if others get to question it? That’s pretty intimidating, I guess, when you’re used to just taking everything on faith yourself. But if they actually had the courage of their convictions they’d cobble together a sensible argument rather than squealing about fair play when anyone has the temerity to disagree.

  21. Gers

    ffs cant someone be against certain aspect of the culture? To me it is no different than being against arranged marriages or teen marriages practiced in some countries, you can be opposed to it and there should be no finger pointing! And of course asking such people their opinion on an official referemdum will produce a two faced situation, the finger pointing at more tradional views is becoming alarming, its not because its “modern” that its good, not in the eyes of everyone anyway. Respect other people opinion and if you must, like the person in the post did, expose your point of view without mocking or trying to shove ideas onto others!

    1. Jane

      *ffs cant someone be against certain aspect of the culture?*

      Which culture?

      *And of course asking such people their opinion on an official referemdum will produce a two faced situation, the finger pointing at more tradional views is becoming alarming*

      Why? The traditional culure in this country is toxic. Utterly toxic. Toxic to gay people, to women, to many children. Why shouldn’t we be against it?

      *Respect other people opinion*

      Depends on the opinion and how it was arrived at, surely? Lots of opinions are unworthy of respect.

  22. barton

    From what I’ve seen of the tv debates the Yes side seem to let the No side lead, dictate the subjects discussed (adoption, surrogacy, parenting and a lot of misinformation about such) and the Yes side is sometimes left trying to mop up the noisy, fractious, distracting mess the No’s have created. John Waters, Paddy Manning are two very big personalities (they are also profoundly full of some kind of weird anger) Kathy Sinnott, Breda O’Brien are full on “protect the children”. David Quinn is utterly unyielding, always on message. None of these people are unsure, uncertain. They are driven by dogma.They will not change. They will not engage in an open, thoughtful, sensitive way. It’s very difficult to discuss the Marriage Equality referendum with logic and reason with people like this. There’s another tv debate on tonight (Clare Byrne Show) At this stage these debates have become sort of pointless- he said, she said. Not a lot of enlightenment for the average undecided viewer (except that Paddy Manning and John Waters are a perfect match, made for each other, if only they could get married….)

    1. Dubloony

      Oh god, not John Waters again. I hope moderators keep people on track about talking about the actual referendum wording.

      I find it interesting that 3 conservative newspaper opinion writers are driving the no agenda. John waters has no campaign but yet he has a platform and TV time.

  23. Seriously

    I have still to witness this overzealous Yes side that I keep hearing about. I have often read horrible comments on Twitter/Facebook etc. from the No side that go totally unchecked by the Yes side as they don’t want to appear overzealous.

    It all feels to me like a “lose if you do, lose if you don’t” situation for the Yes side. Disappointingly so…

  24. Jay

    Gallantman writes: “I think it is vital to leave a space in the referendum debate for moderate ‘No’ voters to identify themselves.” When they manage to form a group called Moderate Mothers and Fathers Matter – their voices will be heard by the media. Unfortunately our media isn’t going to seek them out.

    The Yes are behaving themselves exceptionally well, especially for a minority group that was decriminalised 22 years ago. Perhaps it’s years of hearing the insults based on their sexuality and fine-tuning their ears not to get angry about them.

    For the possible “i’m not sure’ and ‘Jaysus, it might harm the poor children’ ‘No voters. In any referendum, like in life, if something will cause ‘change’ – we much prefer not for the change to happen. If there are on-the-fence voters listening to the sophistry of the No side, of course, they’ll vote no.

    Explaining the fallacy of the No side’s arguments is hugely complicated, because they’re smart A**hole* – and voters don’t bother to educate themselves, but let the sound-bytes of the media rule their decisions.

    This is a country in which we had to vote twice on two Treaty referenda that were essentially the same, after our government got us “changes” in them for the EU. In reality, there were no real effective changes – the major difference was that in the meantime we had learned about how the No side was essentially funded by international interests.

    How do you explain to a shop owner that the basis of the focus on children in this referendum is a calculated move on the No Side after seeing the change in the Polls on the Children’s Rights Referendum of 2012, and the movement more toward a No vote. People are afraid of change if they think its bad for children.

    And now just this past weekend, Breda O’Brien writes about how the Yes Side are being funded by international interests – it couldn’t possibly be because, once again, minds were changed in previous referendum due to that same idea (although from No to Yes).

    How do you explain to a shop owner that the posters for the No side are from a group called Mothers and Fathers Matter, which was set up with the intent to be the public face of The Iona Institute, and thus the Iona Institute, a tax-exempt religious lobbying group would not need to register with the Standards in Public Office Commission, and also not have its accounts open to the public – so no one knows where their money comes from?

    Woah… what was I talking about again?? Oh yes, Gallantman and the shop keeper:
    “the ‘Yes’ campaigners who’d visited him the day before had seemingly failed to address this man’s honestly held, if ill-informed and mis-informed views.”

    Let’s take a minute to stress the word ‘seemingly’. Gallantman doesn’t know what actually happened with the Yes campaigners.

    But I would contend that the Yes campaigners, like Nially, did and are doing their job.

    The ‘Yes’ leaflet sparked the conversation between Gallantman and the shop keeper. It created that space that Gallantman wants – the space in the referendum conversation for moderate ‘No’ voters to identify themselves, and so perhaps its not up to just the ‘Yes’ campaigners to have those conversations, but for everyone to take the opportunity whenever and wherever it strikes.

      1. Jay

        At the start of your sixth paragraph, you accuse the Yes campaigners of failure in their attempts, when you wrote ‘had seemingly failed to address this man’s honestly held, if ill-informed and mis-informed views”

        You never move to my conclusion that they had not failed, or seemingly failed, in their attempts because they created the space between you and the shop keeper to have the conversation. Thus my post was sticking up for the tireless and seemingly thankless work of the Yes campaigners.

        So I’ll give you a semi-Q.E.D.

        :P

        Yes Gallantman, I see you your Latin phrase, and raise you an emoticon.

        1. gallantman

          To ‘fail to do’ something is not to’fail’ at something. It is simply not to do the thing. I didn’t accuse anybody of anything, rendering your fulminating defense of the entire ‘YES’ campaign somewhat misplaced (but in a way reinforcing the general point I went on to make about different means of persuasion)

  25. ToolBag

    The Yes are behaving themselves exceptionally well, especially for a minority group that was decriminalised 22 years ago.- I agree with this and most gay people I know want this to go through for all the right reasons. they are the only ones whose arguments i find convincing. Its the shrill haters that hang around with them that are doing the damage. the ones that are using the gays to push their own agenda. They’d be dragging savita, or some team baby through the streets if they didn’t have this referendum. Or shell to sea, or corruption, or racism or some other crap that keeps their smug up. G’wan the gays, but mind those nasty bedfellows who will dump you like a hot snot the second a more fashionable cause comes along.

  26. Grace

    I think its horribly ironic that a minority group who had to hide and suppress who they were for decades in Ireland (for fear of being ostracized, beaten or killed), is now being accused of being pushy.

    All for having the temerity to campaign nationally to seek people’s permission to have equal rights for the first time ever.

    You couldn’t actually make that up.

    1. ToolBag

      Its not that group believe me. They are only a few hundred. Its the toadies who have jumped on their pink bandwagon

      1. Annie

        Thankfully, in terms of sheer cretinism Toolbag, you and your ilk number only a few hundred also! Shouldn’t you be doing something a tad more socially dysfunctional? Something tells me, it is something which you excel at.

        1. Annie

          Not as angry (or idiotic) as you sweetpea. Life hasn’t been kind to you, now has it?

          1. Jordofthejungle

            Don’t waste your time on Toolbag Annie. He’s ever so slightly unhinged. Regaled us all a few days ago with his own “struggles with his sexuality”. Lots of screws loose on this one. Of course while Toolbag might not turn up to vote, he’ll be first in line at the dole office…

          2. Annie

            @Jord I kind of got the impression that Toolbag was a bit of a troll. The evidence is overwhelming. Even if he has struggled with his sexuality, I don’t think one should mock Toolbag for it. Look, he’s probably just a mixed-up kid. I’m not really paying his “musings” much attention. Toolbag is probably not the brightest light as we can all see but you take it too far Jord!

        2. Rawr

          Hey Toolbag,

          You can shave off your blue beard but there’s still a bang of celery off ya.

    2. d4n

      You wouldn’t have to, it’s a standard move against those attempting to remove oppression.

    3. Daisuke

      And here we have the utter inability or refusal to even contemplate the reservations of the “No” side. Coupled with the mischaracterization of what the “Yes” position actually is. Zealots and ideologues rarely know that is what they are I guess.

  27. dee

    While attempting to understand the No side, the author merely highlights the profound blind spot liberals have on the marriage issue. The fact that the author reflexively dismisses the man’s concerns as being either ‘ill informed or misinformed’ goes to the heart of the problem the Yes side have: they cannot see that the concerns the no side has are real. For sure, the child and relationships bill is responsible for some of the concerns that people have about the referendum, but they see the referendum as a means of copper-fastening a worldview represented by that original bill, a bill shunted through the Oireachtas with practically no debate. This was deeply cynical behaviour from the government, and was done precisely so the yes side could say ‘nothing to see here, this has nothing to do with children’ – because the damage there had already been done in the CAFRB. People aren’t stupid and they can see that. I am a No voter, but I can understand the yes side: they aren’t foolish per se, but I think they are missing the wood for the trees. For as long as the average yes side sees no arguments as ‘ill informed or misinformed’ *at best*, then the yes side are on a hiding to nothing. If you really think that No voters are just a _little_ bit thicker than you, then I would recommend that you look carefully in the mirror and consider where the real ignorance lies.

    1. Don Pidgeoni

      “damage there had already been done in the CAFRB”

      What “damage” Dee? These kids will be just fine if people leave them to it. There’s some misinformation for you.

      “they aren’t foolish per se, but I think they are missing the wood for the trees.” The wood of letting people marry whoever they love? Sounds like an amazing wood with excellent trees!

    2. Nially

      The guy in this story hadn’t bothered Googling the proposed change, or reading about it in any newspapers, or watching any news/current affairs programmes on it, and had to be told by Gallantman what the constitutional amendment actually was. Calling him “ill-informed” is just objectively true.

    3. Jane

      *they cannot see that the concerns the no side has are real*

      Even the No side don’t see their concerns as real. If they did, they’d be more interested in debating their concerns and less interested in debating how anyone who doesn’t take their bizarre “the courts will be forced give married gays babies from a divorced hetrosexual couples thereby breaking biological links” argument seriously is a bully.

    4. gallantman

      The guy was by his own admission ill-informed/confused. That was the entire basis of our subsequent conversation, which seemed to clear up a few things.

    5. d4n

      No thicker, more bigoted. If you can think of a single reason to deny gay people equality that isn’t homophobic, mis and/or ill-informed, please put it forward.

  28. Drogg

    Great piece gallantman. I have tried to help convey the truths to people back home who are genuinely confused by the information that is out there. But in the same way their are plenty of people I know who are genuinely voting no for hateful reasons that will be the first to claim ignorance if there is a yes result.

  29. Fe Dlowered

    All of this conjecture and assumption based on a single conversation with one person? Thankfully that’s not how democracy or the implementation of policies works.

    This referendum will go the way of many before it. Have a look at what way the crazies are voting and vote the opposite. Whether that’s Iona in the case of this referendum or AAA in the next election. Common sense will conquer all.

    1. Annie

      You do get that this is satire, they don’t mean it literally and the underlying message flies in the face of your previous “musings”? Crazy!

        1. Annie

          Indeed funny because it is true when one appreciates the satire which is a Waterford Whispers hallmark! It is this latter part which I fear confuses you. You do appreciate that you should be appraised of the nature of satire should you wish to do well in your Leaving Cert English? Lolz.

          1. Annie

            Tools, I think much of those accessing Waterford Whispers kind of get the satire. But hey, you keep on laughing at yourself and wasting valuable study time manín!

      1. newsjustin

        In fairness Annie, I think it’s you who is missing the joke here.

        Another good one (along with the woman voting No out of spite):

        “Meanwhile in Leitrim, a man is being treated for minor injuries in hospital after being attacked by members of the Yes campaign, for failing to add the ‘Yes For Equality’ badge onto his Facebook profile picture.”

        1. Annie

          Erm, not really. The point, as referenced by all of the commentators under the WW post, is the ubiquity and hilarity of these non-arguments. They are sending up the oft-used “the Yes side are oppressing us”, “it is not gay people but straight people who are oppressed by marriage equality” style of argument. Like the recent “Yes badge shows up at RTE and causes panic”. It’s satire – it implies not taking it literally. You are seeing what you want to see!

  30. eamonn moran

    My 2 cents
    Some people think they are very special. Now if you think your special you need to have people to look down on or else it doesn’t make sense that you are special. Gay people are one such group. Why would these special people want to allow this whole big group that they can look down on become their equals in some way? They would never admit this publicly,even to an opinion poll.
    People like to think they are very complex and unique but from what I see we usually act in accordance with fairly simplistic base instincts.
    Gay people kissing in public is still extremely rare in Ireland and many people are extremely uncomfortable even seeing it. I think most people who feel like that will vote No.
    Bad news for the NO and Yes sides is that i don’t think many people will change their minds based on canvassing. I don’t think anyone very many people at all are neutral on this. The one thing about the Polls that I do believe is that the undecided cohort is very low. I disagree with people who think turnout will be low.

  31. ToolBag

    This vote will pass overwhelmingly. Its a shame that people are using it to settle old scores (the libernazis), rather than help people make the societal shift that will ensure its not just a paper thin vote. The crowing will be loud and only further serve to widen the divide. If anyone thinks we are going to be more tolerant or inclusive after this campaign, they are mistaken. Like Sinn Fein, equality is the trojan horse of some other agenda entirely.

    1. Annie

      You should be studying little fellow!

      It won’t pass overwhelmingly. The vote will be tight – such is the way of our referenda. If it is to pass, it will be by a slim margin.

  32. ToolBag

    62-38. Turnout will be low. Big youth vote. The traditional conservatives will not be out in force. Then after the hoorays, both sides will look at each other with greater disdain. And there will be a cluster of gay weddings followed by a meh when the media move on…

      1. Annie

        I could be mean and suggest your posts are dumb and dumber but that would be too easy Tools!

      2. Don Pidgeoni

        I like it when you are insulting someone by replying to their comment but really you are replying to yourself. Its funny!

  33. Brown dogg

    Tell me, letz say this guy didint take the yes leaflet, is it then right and proper that his business be boycotted? Because we all know thatz what would happen. No wonder people are afraid of the yes side, and the conservatives are the fascists? Gimme a break.

  34. Ppads

    Gallantman, you spoke to someone you know, who was clearly more comfortable asking questions with a familiar, then post online about what a bad job these particular Yes campaigners done. Not the slightest hint of one up-manship there whatsoever. Here is an idea. If you feel you can inform the soft No better than those who are volunteering their time and energy then get yourself out there. But that wouldn’t feel as good as being critical without the full facts now would it?
    As for all the other posting about being preached at. If you are going to vote No then at least be honest with yourself as to why. It is not because he said this and she said that, it is because you don’t believe gay people are equal. It really is that black and white.

    1. Ppads

      Just one other point. Getting people involved in LGBT activism is a very difficult job. People going door to door is a credit to the gay community, their friends and this country. If any of you are reading this, keep doing what you are doing because you are making history… you are stars!

      1. Annie

        Research has shown that by far the most effective way to change people’s minds on same-sex marriage is door-to-door canvassing.

        When people are confronted with the real people whose lives they will affect, it is a lot harder for them to vote against them.

        In contrast, for example, when one interacts with people from behind the safety of a computer screen, it is far easier to dehumanize one’s opponents.

        1. Ppads

          I agree. In a country which has inherited ingrained homophobia like Ireland, gay people and friends knocking on stranger’s doors should be lauded. No matter which way you decide to vote, at least give them credit for their principles… rather than bitching on a website.

    2. gallantman

      To ‘fail to do’ something is not to ‘fail’at something. They failed to address his concerns, as he hadn’t expressed them. That was point. And to question why that was? I made no criticism whatsoever of the campaigners involved.

  35. Shane

    As in most referendums, both sides are afraid to articulate the truth so they mis-inform, or just simply don’t fully understand the wording of the referendum thenselves. Certainly, the foot soldiers aren’t informed enough to answer intellignet questions.
    Equality is just that, no ifs or buts. Gender doesn’t matter, love is what counts, for the adults, and the children involved in the relationship.

  36. Undecided Floating Voter

    Dear Gallantman,

    I’ve read acres of print and online articles about the referendum, and I find myself still finding it hard to make my mind up, which is not usually the case for me. However, of all the Yes advocates, it seems to me that you are about the only one who understands that to convince people in the middle of your argument, you have to actually address their concerns rather than dismiss them. In fact, if I was to voice the concerns that I have, I would probably lose several friends instantly and get myself in a whole heap of hassle. That’s just a fact. So hopefully you can help me.

    I used to be a staunch Yes proponent, and I still want to vote yes, in fact I really want to vote yes, but while my heart is saying vote yes, my gut is saying vote no, and my head is caught between the two. My head will be the winner in this, as it is with most decisions I make. So, I am asking you to convince me to Vote Yes on Friday.

    To help you, here’s some info on me that will help. I’m 35, male, from the country but live in Dublin and have some, but not a huge amount of gay friends, who I get on really well with. I have a few lesbian friends, and one couple in particular I know are wonderful partners and would make wonderful parents. And yet, and yet…..I have my doubts……

    The Yes side have been appealing to the heart, and the likes of Ursula Halligan have been very powerful in their words. But this isnt about love, it’s about changing the law, and that means its about logic and reason, not emotion. And on that score I have a few concerns, that I would appreciate it if you could address, using logic and logic alone. I don’t want to hear the emotional arguments, I want to hear the logical ones. I’ve read up a lot on this, so the simple billboard arguments either way will not work on me.

    1. I’ve read up on this and it is as clear as day to me that there is a direct causal link between the Child and Family Bill and the referendum. I read some articles back in February, with quotes from Government sources saying that they would pass the Bill asap as they didn’t want those issues coming up in the referendum. So while the referendum is not a vote on the Bill or on adoption procedures, the referendum has been the catalyst for those changes, and that means there is a direct causal link between the two. So the whole, “it has nothing to do with children” argument simply does not wash with me, and will not work. That being said, I have no moral objection to a child being raised by homosexual parents, as long as it can be shown beyond any reasonable doubt that there is no adverse impact on the child whatsoever. Now, this is where my concerns come in. I have a very, very clear memory of being in a college lecture and being told that the biggest cause of young men in disadvantaged communities going off the rails was “Lack of a strong male role model”, which is commonplace in single parent families. In fact, I heard it so often, it became a cliche. So how does the need for young men to have “strong male role models” square with “there is absolutely no difference between children raised by a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple”, for example a lesbian couple where there is no strong male influence. What is the logical counter to this? Again, please do not come back with “it has nothing to do with children”, because if this passes, then homosexual families will have constitutional protection, regardless if it subsequently turns out that there is an adverse impact on the child of being raised in a same sex headed family.

    2. Are we not redefining marriage by abandoning the concept that the legal contract between a man and woman is a special contract which is a foundation for a family and is the most desirable situation for the parties to the contract to conceive and to raise children? While there are many childless couples, nobody would argue that there is not some connection for most people between marriage and starting a family. After all, if marriage between man and woman has absolutely nothing to do with children, then logically why is there a legal prohibition on polygamy or polyandry? Why not a legal marriage of 3 or 4 or 5 people who love each other as deeply as any hetero or homo sexual couple? Why should the love of 3 or more people for each other be denied the legal protection that couples will have? What is the logical counter to that point?

    3. The Law of Unintended Consequences. A bit more “out there”, but I hope you’ll bear with me. About 5 years ago, I was in Cork for a work event and I got chatting to a fairly sound fella over a few drinks. Was dead sound, tells me he’s gay and nobody bats an eyelid. Out of curiousity, I asked him did he ever want to have kids, and he said yes, and I said right, I’d imagine you’ll be using surrogacy or something along those lines if you want it to be your biological child, and it’ll be either you or your partner that’ll be the father. He turned around, and said “Actually, the way technology is moving, it will probably be possible before long to conceive a child using the DNA of two sperm cells.” It sent a shiver down my spine that I have never forgotten. In fact, up to that point I had been a staunch yes supporter, but that comment changed everything. Because it showed a mindset which wanted to rewrite the most basic laws of nature to suit the whims of two men or two women, which is about the most despicable thing I could imagine anybody doing. Now, I’ve asked some scientist friends of mine who understand genetics far better than I do, about whether that would ever be possible, and they said “In theory, yes, but the technology is way in the future”. What’s this to do with the referendum? Well, if the referendum is passed, homosexual couples will benefit from the limited right to procreate which heterosexual married couples currently enjoy. And, a court would in all liklilood say that in the case of homosexual couples, that right to procreate would include the right to use that technology if it ever became available. Therefore, such an indescribably barbaric procedure as creating a child from two sperm cells would almost certainly be legal as soon as the referendum is passed on Saturday.

    And, just to make sure I wasn’t way off the mark on this one, I found this article in about 2 seconds on Google:

    http://time.com/3748019/same-sex-couples-biological-children/

    And this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-59196/How-women-make-babies-men.html

    And this: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=119924

    Please tell me these are unfounded fears, please tell me that you would object to any such procedure ever being legalised and please tell me that homosexual couples would never, ever dream of using such technology far into the future. Because it is one thing to allow gay couples to marry, and it is quite another to legalise the creation of a genetic monstrosity of a child that would have no biological father or mother due to the whims of their homosexual parents. I can only imagine the monstrosities if and when it goes wrong. It is so unnatural and ethically twisted a procedure and a concept it actually makes me sick even thinking of it, but that’s an emotional response. Please give me the logical and legal reason why this will not be legal in Ireland as and from Saturday if this passes.

    As you can see, I have thought a lot about this, and I would be very interested to hear you address these concerns. There are a few more, but I’ll leave it at that for the minute.

    A note to zealots on either side: I will not be swayed by emotional arguments, browbeating or guilt tripping. There is enough of that going on from both sides in public.

    Looking forward to your response.

    Undecided Floating Voter

    1. steve white

      they were supposed to put the surrogacy stuff into the child and family relationship bill but they didn’t,that the link, if you want to stop that stuff contact your TD.

    2. Don Pidgeoni

      “I will not be swayed by emotional arguments, browbeating or guilt tripping” states commentator in post filled with emotional arguments and guilt tripping.

  37. mike

    Good set of questions. But as they come 6 days after the original post, I guess the main batallion of yes voters consider this thread already covered and have moved on. I’m gonna try and respond, but don’t have time for a debate.

    I’m a yes voter, and gay, but I struggle to how best define my reaction to your concerns, and those expressed by the no campaign.

    1: Children – Not all married gay couples will want to have children. For those that do have children, the well-being of those children will be the same as the children that have already been raised by gay couples. All the material I have read points to those children, world-wide, being well-adjusted and happy. If there was a general negative outcome for those children, I have no doubt that it would be well publicised by now.

    There are specific differences in their experience, differences that may hurt from time to time, but I think that the love in the family home would compensate. Those children would come to know that they were wanted by the parents who raise them. The alternative is that they were not conceived at all.

    There are many possible circumstances in the lives of children of hetreosexual parents which give rise to more concerns than the issues faced by children of same-sex couples. I’m in an imperfect world and I accept those imperfections.

    I’m into family genealogy. For children with an anonymous sprem-donor father, they are not able to create the typical charts. If that child was me, I wouldn’t like it. But people learn to live with and accept differences. As far as I know, many gay couples chose to have a child with someone they know, so the opposite-sex parent is known.

    On the “lack of male role model”, Im not sufficiently au-fait of “sociology” or whatever the subject-matter is called. But children where their father has passed away would have the same lack. It doesn’t seem to be a widespread cause of social breakdown. I think that a same-sex couple that want a child, and go to the bother of having one, will then be sufficiently engaged to ensure that the child is reared to have values that are good for society.

    2: Redefining marriage: I think the yes campaign are using verbal gymnastics to avoid saying “redefine”. Admitting such a thing would mean that those “against change” would be entitled to vote no and make their campaign harder. But I think that a more complete answer is yes, it is redefining marriage, but so what? Things do change, and it is the consequences of those changes that we need to worry about, not the change itself.

    I don’t want to see marriages of more than 2 people. I don’t envisage an electoral majority in Ireland (or any other country either) ever being persuaded to facilitate that. Yes, if you extend the underlying “equality” principles of the yes campaign, you could theoretically justify it. But humans being human, do not apply such direct logic. So, its not an issue I need to worry about.

    3: On the 2-male DNA question, it reminds me of other such issues like the collecting of stem cells for research, cloning, assisted suicide etc. Science makes advances regardless of the moral, theological, or even practical position. The results of science are then applied or not applied. Societies make rules governing this. Many societies find stem-cell research and cloning distasteful, and chose to ban it. Over time, they may relax those restrictions, or not, depending on the perceived benefits. I think it very unlikely that Ireland would allow something that a large group of people find “shivery”. I would find it objectionable – and un-necessary. So I couldn’t see that being allowed, even if gay couples can marry.

    The issues around children, surrogacy etc are clever emotive points by those on the no campaign. But my view is that those issues arise whether the outcome is yes or no, voting no won’t “prevent” them.

    So, when I take the impact of all the concerns into consideration against the question of giving gay couples the right to marry, I consider that the right will not cause significant harm. The main outcome is the basic one – that gay couples, especially those that I know, will feel equal, accepted and happy. So I am gonna go beyond logical consideration of the myriad of issues, take a leap of faith and vote yes. For something that is for “others”, not for me, I’m single.

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