[Fintan O’Toole at the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) Annual Conference in the RDS last November]
It’s good that most of those who oppose gay marriage love and respect and cherish individual gay people, though they should hardly expect a pat on the back for not hating their fellow citizens. But they need to recognise that that’s not enough.
The whole point of the law is that it’s not about giving people equal status because you like them. It’s about freeing people from subjection to the arbitrariness of other people’s benevolence. Gay men and lesbians shouldn’t have to care one way or the other whether the members of the Iona Institute love them or not. Just as the rest of us shouldn’t measure the rights of our fellow citizens by what they get up to in bed.
“Like the other MEPs, I have been inundated with emails claiming that this report represents an attack on the freedom of speech – because it condemns homophobia. It is deeply ironic because in Ireland at the moment, you have a real attack on the freedom of speech.
National broadcaster, RTE, has censored Rory O’Neill for calling out homophobia, even worse than that, it has paid out 85,000 euros reportedly in damages to those accused of homophobia.
It’s an attack by the right wing conservative forces in Ireland, acceded to by RTE, designed to censor debate in advance of a likely referendum on marriage equality. We must refuse to be silenced.
When John Waters says that gay marriage is ‘a kind of satire’, that is homophobia.
When Breda O’Brien says ‘equality must take second place to the common good’, that is homophobia.
When the Iona Institute campaign against gay marriage because it is gay marriage, that is homophobia.
In the words of Rory O’Neill, these people should get the hell out of our lives.”
“So I hear tell that the controversy over the Iona/RTÉ payout is all a load of twitter generated fury. Funny that, because I decided to go out and see if I could find some flesh-and-blood people who would also have a thing to say…’