Tag Archives: Gay Equality

KirstRoisín Hughes and wife, Kristen (above), walking down the aisle.

Ahead of Friday’s Marriage Referendum, Bray (County Wicklow) native Roisín Hughes, now in Chicago, U.S.A., shares her story in a bid to sway the undecided and inspire the don’t knows.

Roisín writes:

One thing is certain: May 22nd is a date that I will never pass over arbitrarily as I flick through my ’30 Rock’ desk calendar — my niece, who turns six on that date this year, will make sure of that. I can only hope that the date will be special to me for years to come in another way as well. Time, dates, days…they are funny little things.

A mere decade ago, I was a third year college student, enjoying the typical antics that are associated with university life in Dublin, Ireland: surrounded by fantastic lifelong friends, playing field hockey at college level, holding my head above water at exam time, and generally living what most would consider a wonderful life. I was also living a wonderful lie. Since my early teens, I had been fairly certain that I was gay.

For those unfamiliar, the best way to describe the day-to-day impact of shielding that lie is this: Every time something truly amazing happened in my life, (and many things did, I consider my adolescence to have been a very happy and fulfilling one), that lie tapped me on the shoulder, reminding me that nothing was quite as fantastic as it seemed.

Each time a sad situation arose, it was even more difficult to surmount because of the dark cloud of lies I told myself and everyone I loved every day. Every time one of my siblings brought a significant other home, I felt a tremendous ball of sadness in the pit of my stomach: A sadness borne of jealousy, fear, and shame.

Every time a scandal broke out in my small town, nothing seemed to compare to the wrath of my own private scandal. There were some dark days during those years. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would do one of two things: Marry a boy that I got along well with, avoid physical contact with him at all costs and hope that our mutual obsession with all things sport-related would get us through the decades of companionship; or die a spinster and possibly adopt some cats (I hate cats).

In 10 short years, the LGBT equal rights movement has witnessed an avalanche of progress. To bring the countless court victories and law amendments down to a personal level, consider this: On this day, I calculate that it has been over 8 years since I felt any semblance of that lie tap my shoulder. What a feat! Would-be husbands! Cats! You’re all safe!

Consider the shifts: My shame has been replaced with a beaming pride. My years spent in fear at my all-female Catholic school have been usurped by four years working for the greatest, most inclusive company in the world, Salesforce.

My CEO, Marc Benioff, recently took to Twitter to take a stand against Indiana’s ‘Religious Freedom’ Law. My brother, Mike, has recently become heavily involved in Procter & Gamble’s LGBT ally program, GABLE. The emails that he sends me about his participation and support of that group bring a lump to my throat without fail.

Nine months ago, I wed my best friend, the love of my life, Kristen. As the Irish would say: I did well for myself. She’s gorgeous, inside and out, a gem of a human being.

A 100 of our close family and friends traveled from Ireland and Iowa to Chicago last summer to witness and partake in our wedding. My Dad walked me down the aisle just as he had my two straight sisters previously.

It was a wonderful occasion, the best of my life, one that I had not imagined could occur until very recently — the same applies to the Marriage Equality referendum in Ireland. I remember speaking with my gay brother, David, who is 2 years my elder, shortly after we had both come out to each other.

At the time, our options were incredibly limited when it came to planning a future — the Netherlands was the only country in which we could have married our partners. Most of our extended family and friends were still unaware of the fact that we were gay — the idea of sending them a wedding invitation was unfathomable. Maybe in 2050 New York…Possibly progressive Germany… Ireland? Not a chance. Not in our lifetime.

Living in Chicago, I can’t cast a ballot on Friday, May 22nd. So, to all those in a position to have their say later this week, I ask you this: Allow me to call my ‘wife’ my wife when I move back home someday.

Allow the countless teenagers that are being plagued by that tap on their shoulder to brush it away, knowing that their fellow citizens — straight, bisexual, gay — have confirmed the equality of their hopes and feelings, the equality of their love; knowing that their happiness is happiness and their fear is unwarranted.

By casting a Yes vote, you will be tapping teenagers’ shoulders all over the world, letting them know that it’s ok, and it’s going to be ok. Allow our little island to be the first country to pass this law of equality by popular vote. Be on the right side of history. #BeMyYes

Roisin Hughes at Medium.com

Thanks Kim Leonard


Joining Miriam O’Callaghan to discuss the influence of Pope Francis on the Catholic Church last night were Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin Denis Nulty, Breda O’Brien of the Iona Institute, UCD Professor of Modern History Diarmaid Ferriter and Gina Menzies, theologian and member of We Are Church.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Let me ask you about “Cultural Catholics” so because it’s interesting, are they Catholics within your meaning of the word – the fact that if they only go to mass at Christmas, or if you know they use contraception, as many people do in Ireland, if they live in sin, they say they have partners – are they…..?”

Bishop Denis Nulty: “Of course they are Catholic – there’s no doubt about it, they may not be as committed as I myself may like them to be, but they are Catholics.”

MO’C: “Are they welcome to have sacraments within the Church?”

Bishop Nulty: “They are welcome to… the Church is an open door, and welcomes all people – sacraments are a slightly different area….because of issues… some people may not be (able) to go to sacraments – but that teaching is clear enough. The Church welcomes everyone with an open door.”

MO’C: “Simple question, I suppose Fintan O’Toole addressed it there as well – if you had a gay couple living in your area, and you knew that they were living together – would they be allowed to take the sacraments in your church?”

Bishop Nulty: “A gay couple, and I knew they were living together? I woud be encouraging them not to – I would be saying it’s the same way that a couple who are remarried outside of the church, outside of the sacrament, I’d be encouraging them not to, but to still to come to church.”

MO’C: “But would you give a gay couple Communion – I suppose a simple question?”

Bishop Nulty: “…I wouldn’t, but I think you’re {interrupted}…narrowing something.. …which Pope Francis says…you shouldn’t”

Diarmaid Ferriter: That doesn’t sound like an open door, does it?

Gina Menzies: “Well, actually that’s quite contradictory – in a way what Pope Francis is saying in his interview in his exhortation, he actually changes the language, he changes the context, he talks about an inclusive church. And one of the most significant things he said which was truly radical is that the Eucharist is not a reward for those who sort of follow the rules – that the Eucharist is a nourishment for the journey of faith, which is an insight that has come by theologically almost thirty years ago. And it’s interesting that we now have a Pope who has acknowledged that inclusivity as the way of the gospel.”


Ciaran Ó Mathúna: “I represent a group called Gay Catholic Voice Ireland and we set ourselves up to represent gay and lesbian people who have felt not welcomed and who have felt excluded and we want to be a positive voice because there are lots of gay people in parishes participating and want to participate in their faith and want to give expression to their faith something that is very important – but yet again tonight we’ve heard we’re not really welcome. And all these nice words – like I mean, we welcomed Pope Francis’ interview that he gave from Brazil when he used the word ‘gay’, instead of ‘homosexual’, and he was the first Pope to do that – and we welcomed this tone and this openess and you know, it’s a nice challenge to other church leaders and organisations to be more inclusive – and yet you know we are told that, yes you are loved and you’re made in the image and likeness of God and you’re welcome and you’re part of our church and you’re welcome with open doors with equality – but we don’t experience equality, we don’t experience those open doors – and yet, week after week, we want to be part of our parish, and yet members have been told they can no longer read at mass, they can no longer be in the choir, they can no longer be a minister for the Eucharist – because they are gay.”

Watch in full here.


NI Health Minister Edwin Poots has defended his opposition to gay adoption and gay men donating blood in the Assembly today. Mr Poots denied he thought homosexuality was an illness, but said there were heterosexual men “who would desire lots of other folks. Those of us who are married shouldn’t be doing that. People can resist urges. And in terms of all of this I would just encourage people to take a sensible and rational view of these issues.”

When it comes to adoption I’ve just come from an MLU, a Midwifery Lead Unit in Lagan Valley today and all of the people that were giving birth in that unit were women and all of those women would not have been impregnated by another woman.

“The natural order – whether one believes in God or whether one believes in evolution – is for a man and a woman to have a child and therefore that has made my views on adoption very clear and on raising children very clear, that it should be a man and a woman that raises a child.

“Now people can criticise me for that and they can challenge me for it and they can say it’s backward.

“The truth is that still today in this modern era it is only a man and a woman that can produce a child and therefore I think its in the best order for a man and a woman to raise a child.”

Edwin Poots defends stance on gay adoption (BBC News NI)

Previously: The Abominable No Man

James And The Gay Blood Ban

Dope Springs Eternal

Because QUARES!


NI Health Minister Edwin Poots has failed in his attempt to challenge the British Supreme Court’s ruling to grant adoption to gay couples in Northern Ireland. Currently, a single gay or lesbian person can adopt in Northern Ireland but a couple in a civil partnership cannot.

The Health Minister has also tried to prevent gay people from becoming blood donors. An online petition calling for his resignation currently has almost 8,500 signatures.

Supreme Court rejects Edwin Poots’ attempt to overturn court ruling in favour of gay adoption (Belfast Telegraph)

Previously: James And The Gay Blood Ban

Dope Springs Eternal

Because QUARES!


Previously: Come Dine With Me (Pro-Life Edition)

Youth Defence And The Standards In Public Office Commission

“Everyone In A Relationship Deserves Legal Protection…Even Gay People”

A Pro-Life Noraid

15/5/2013 eHealth Week 2013(NI Health Minister Edwin Poots centre, with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Health Minister James Reilly)

The [Northern Ireland] health minister is set to take his fight against the extension of adoption rights to Northern Ireland’s gay and unmarried couples to the UK’s highest court.

Edwin Poots has been given leave by the Court of Appeal to appeal a ruling that the current ban on gay and lesbian couples adopting is unlawful.

…At present, a single gay or lesbian person can adopt children in NI, but a couple in a civil partnership cannot. The Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) said the ruling would bring NI into line with the rest of the UK.

Rainbow Project director, John O’Doherty said they were disappointed with the minister’s decision. “Both the High Court and the Court of Appeal have noted the practice of banning same-sex and unmarried couples from adopting is discriminatory,” he said. “Enough public money has been spent on this fool’s errand. The minister should focus his time on ensuring the best available homes for children in care in Northern Ireland.”

Gay and unmarried adoption battle set for Supreme Court (BBC News NI)

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Nick-Symmonds_leadx400deepUS 800m silver medalist Nick Symmonds dedicated his medal to his gay and lesbian friends and called for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

“As much as I can speak about it, I believe that all humans deserve equality as however God made them,” he said to R-Sport. “Whether you’re gay, straight, black, white, we all deserve the same rights. If there’s anything I can do to champion the cause, I will, shy of getting arrested.”

“I respect Russians’ ability to govern their people. I disagree with their laws.”


But he seems to be carrying a lighter lunch than Rob, in fairness.

US athlete Nick Symmonds speaks out against Russia’s anti-gay law in Moscow (Alan Luhn, Guardian)

Pic: Getty Images


BRuL5ReCUAAnaP8Jade Kelly (left) and Rose Mullen chained to the railings outside the Russian Embassy, Orwell Road, Rathgar, Dublin, in protest at Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Thanks Sarah Meyler