‘Equality Is For Everyone Or It’s Worth Nothing’


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From top: Dublin Castle after the marriage referendum result last year; Sarah Clancy

Writer Sarah Clancy, from Galway, campaigned for a Yes vote in the marriage equality referendum last year.

She’s since received an invite to a photocall in Dublin Castle this Sunday – with Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald – to mark the first anniversary of the marriage referendum.

GLEN, Marriage Equality and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties extended the invite.

But Sarah is not going.

She explained this to the organisers in the following letter:

Thanks for this invitation. I wonder though could you pass my concerns on to your fellow members of Glen and the other organisations for me.

I do not think that there is any need for Yes Equality or the other organisations involved to continue inviting members of government to celebrate what was in fact a decades long campaign for justice that was mostly instigated by members of the LGTB community.

Frances Fitzgerald, in particular in her Justice brief in the last Government, presided over extremely regressive and dangerous legislation that affects asylum seekers in the International Protection Act and she failed to honor commitments made to the Magdelene women in the Redress for Women Resident in Certain Institutions Act.

She also failed to legislate for the Victims Directive to be enacted in Ireland despite talking about it at length and being commended for it in public, and all that is on top of participating in a government that imposed severe cuts on the most vulnerable in society.

I admire the work Glen and others have done on Marriage Equality but please do not be co-opted into providing a continuing patina of equality for a government that has increased inequality to the extent that we have a spiraling crisis of homelessness.

Equality is for everyone or it is worth nothing.

It is perfectly possible and would be preferable I think to most people involved if the successful result of the referendum was celebrated by remembering and thanking those whose lives were affected by discrimination in the past and the many, many people who put their own most private selves on the line by canvassing and going public all around the country.

Many thanks.


Thanks Sarah Clancy


57 thoughts on “‘Equality Is For Everyone Or It’s Worth Nothing’

  1. Tony

    Very good. About time the MarRef brigade got over themselves and started to see that they are not the only issue in the village.

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      I forget people are only allowed to sign up to one social campaign at a time. Silly me!

  2. Lordblessusandsaveus

    As great as the Marriage Referendum is, Fine Gael used that to deflect from wider social apartheid and their deliberate policies of creating a designed inequality so that their backers could profit.

    Make people homeless and then frame a debate to push for privatization of social housing. A few people die along the way but sure they’re only lower scum right? So who cares about them.

    Then on to health. Make that so bad that anything else seems better. Step in privatization again. A few hundred maybe a few thousand needlessly die on trolleys while Fine Gael backers line up to pick off pieces of the health services to turn into for profit businesses. And sure who cares about the manslaughter of citizens. Sure they were only the poorer ones who couldn’t afford health insurance. Sure that’s their own fault.

    Fine Gael are the most socially destructive government Ireland has ever had.

    1. classter

      ‘Fine Gael are the most socially destructive government Ireland has ever had.’

      Presumably this refers to the last FG/Lab govt.

      Out of interest, which govt was in second place?

      1. Kieran NYC

        Like a typical Irish voter, he can’t remember a government beyond the last one.

        Hence FF doing so well.

  3. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

    Oh I love it when people do this!! Nicely played

  4. Jack D

    Any Fine Gael member who stands up and takes credit for the marriage equality referendum is a charlatan (and not in the indie band way!).

    Marriage Equality was not part of the Fine Gael campaign manifesto during the 2011 general election. This was not an issue for them. It was, however, part of Labour’s manifesto.

    Fine Gael attempted to distance themselves as much as possible from the action of supporting marriage equality during the move toward it. The constitutional convention was an effort to give a smoke-screen to the party so that the referendum would be seen not to come from them, but ‘the people’ asking for it.

    This is, once again (and thus like my last posting on Broadsheet), all about making sure you get the votes in the next election. Bog Standard TD says it wasn’t me who wanted the gays to get married, sure that convention said we had to have a referendum on it, and then the people said yes.

    Sarah Clancy is right. It was the work of the Marriage Equality group, Glen, LGBT Noise and others who moved the slow cogs of the political elite toward last year’s referendum.

    It is they who should stand proud of the work they did, and they alone.

        1. Jay

          It was the Xs of FG voters, Labour voters, FF voters, SF voters, Independent voters, the Undecided-What-Way-Is-The-Wind-Blowing voters…

          It doesn’t pain me to say it was the people of Ireland, aka the voters, who made this finally happen.

          And it’s my hysterical (although frankly, I thought it was a reasoned argument) anti political elite stuff. Let’s not forget Averil Power’s dismay at the lack of movement within FF when campaigning for this issue.

          My hysteria, for I lament and wail, is with the lack of leadership politicians in this country show – change comes only because they must be dragged there, and I shall run through the streets screaming it at the top of my lungs.

    1. classter


      FG deserve criticism for many things which they did or didn’t do. Exactly why they did or didn’t do the right thing is almost besides the point.

      By the same token, they deserve (shared) credit for marriage equality.

      If you won’t reward politicians for doing things you want, how can you complain when they do things that you don’t? And how can you ever expect any better?

      1. Jay

        It’s a very good series of questions, which go right to the heart of politics. What is the reward for a politician? To make society better, to lead the change for a better society? Did FG lead the change?

        Why people do or don’t do the ‘right thing’ isn’t beside the point. It is the point.

        I think in this situation, I’m annoyed because Fitzgerald and FG aren’t sharing the credit for marriage equality. When it comes to the FG/Labour coalition, surely the credit should be shared with Labour, as it was only part of their manifesto.

        I’m annoyed because FG are taking the ‘yes’ vote as a win for them. In this situation, allowing Fitzgerald share the stage with people who did work hard to make it a reality. She wasn’t one of the leading politicians on this issue when it wasn’t popular, she just happened to be appointed as Minister for Justice during the time of the referendum. She didn’t force FG to include it as part of their manifesto.

  5. Frank Harris

    We are not all equal. We won’t all get to the top in our chosen professions. Some of us won’t escape from poverty traps. Some of us, despite advantages inherited at birth, will slip into a poverty trap. Big business, SME business, the mass media and assorted TDs vocally supported Marriage Equality, giving the impression that they favour ‘equality’ across the board. They don’t in fact. They support causes that don’t rock the economic system that lets some reach the top, many more reach the middle and too many stay at the base of the social pyramid. They support causes that don’t threaten their place in the system. The horses that they choose to ride are horses they can control.

  6. curmudegon

    If you want to give credit where its due then you should thank Pat Rabitte. Love him or loathe him but that referendum was his legacy.

      1. Steve

        Gets on the moral high horse about gay rights (fair enough tbf) but slags off a man’s weight issue.


        Typical of a shinnerbot / pretend-communist I suppose

        1. The Key of G

          Gets on the high horse about slagging off fatty then stuffs face with gratuitous Shinnerbot slop

        2. Sheik Yahbouti

          Shinnerbot/pretend communist”?? You crack me up :-) You’re that sad little IW employee/FG apologist, aren’t you.

          1. Sheik Yahbouti

            Ugh. Slime upsets me – couldn’t touch any part of you. Your knees and all your important little places are safe from me.

  7. Guy Bague

    “LGTB”? It’s “LGBT”

    How about Sarah Clancy take the opportunity and use it to turn up and call for the Minister’s resignation.

Comments are closed.