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Byline: PAT FLANAGAN, BY PADDY MANNING Blogger/Campaigner

ENDA Kenny has pledged a gay marriage referendum before his Government is over.

He said he would campaign for a yes vote in the historic poll which is likely to be held in 2015.

That was met with dismay by the Catholic Church who vowed to fight to have marriage retained as a unique bond between a man and a woman.

But others say the vote is another vital step to ensure equal citizenship for lesbian and gay people.

Today the Irish Mirror hears from supporters and opponents.


BY PADDY MANNING Blogger/Campaigner

I WAS arrested once for chatting up a big, burly member of the vice squad wasting his time chasing gay guys like me.

Every time I hear proponents of same-sex marriage telling me that they want the State to endorse and validate our relationships I think of that night.

I want to keep the State out of my relationships, and, as much as possible, out of my life.

Same-sex marriage is not some warm fluffy equality bunny, it's a bare-faced state power grab.

The State gets to entirely remake marriage, not as the man/woman/ child model we've inherited from 10,000 years of history and across all cultures but as an anything-goes irrelevant partnership agreement between adults.

Only a man and a woman have children despite every fantasy the gender-busters want us to believe.

Every child has a right to that natural life no matter how much that right bothers the children-asaccessories brigade.

Same-sex marriage asks us to ignore reality and children's rights.

Marriage will be made irrelevant because this remake says that for the first time children and parenthood has no natural place in marriage.

If there are children, the kindly, benevolent state will set your relationship with them.

If you don't want a gay marriage don't get one? Everyone gets one because, in the eyes of the State, marriage will be about adults, not about a man and a woman committing to making and raising children.

Politicians love us to believe we belong to some victim class so they can save us.

I'm a gay man, I'm not a victim and I reject this notion that traditional marriage should be drastically altered for some fantasy.


Yes, gay people need to give legal force to their relationships but for that we have civil unions, not a onesize fits all marriage, cut down to suit the romantic whims of adults.

People get married for their own reasons but we have marriage because it has a meaning and does a vital job not just for individuals but for society.

Claiming that equality demands that men and women be as interchangeable as Lego blocks shows you don't understand men and women, marriage or much else.

Profound ignorance is a poor basis for massive change.

Redressing historical wrongs may be worse basis. Yes, gay people had a hard time.

The night I was arrested was brutal, terrifying and a terrible waste of Garda time but that was in long ago, in a very distant galaxy.

Ireland is a very different place for us now - pretending otherwise is to trap gay people in a damaging victim culture.

We can ignore reality all we want but the outcomes for children are not the same across all family models. Marriage of a man and a woman gives children the best chance.


BY TIERNAN BRADY, Policy Director with the Gay & Lesbian Equality Network

This week has been a historic one for Ireland and in particular for lesbian and gay people and their families.

On Tuesday afternoon the Government accepted the overwhelming recommendation of the constitutional convention to hold a referendum on marriage.

That evening Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced his strong support for equal access to civil marriage for lesbian and gay couples.

The last 20 years have witnessed an extraordinary transformation in the status of lesbian and gay people.

It was only in 1993 that decriminalisation was passed. Since then Ireland has passed strong equality legislation which gave significant protections to lesbian and gay people.

In 2011 the last Government passed the Civil Partnership Act with cross-party support.

In a relatively short period of time, Ireland has moved from being one of the most unwelcoming countries for gay people, to being one of the world's best.

Civil partnership has been a resounding success. Since the law was passed more than 1,500 couples have celebrated their love.

These civil partnerships have shown that the love and commitment of lesbian and gay couples is just the same as other couples.

The announcement that the Government is to introduce a Bill dealing with reform of family law this year, followed by a referendum in 2015 on civil marriage indicate the final steps on this remarkable journey towards equality.

It builds on the success of the progress to date.

Civil partnerships were a huge advance and provide almost all of the rights and duties of marriage.

But civil partnership does not include protections for kids in lesbian or gay-headed families.


And civil partnerships are not protected in the Constitution, which is the basic law of our State.

Marriage is the only relationship protected in the constitution.

Only when lesbian and gay couples can marry will they have the same protection, status and dignity for themselves and their families under our Constitution.

The decision to prioritise family recognition legislation is also very welcome.

There are lesbian and gay couples all over Ireland who are bringing up children.

These families urgently need legal recognition and protections - protections and certainty that other families take for granted.

The Constitutional Convention vote, the widespread celebration of civil partnerships all across the country and the growing public and political support for marriage mean that Ireland is now ready to move to the next step of providing access to civil marriage and full constitutional protection for lesbian and gay people and their families.

I believe the people of Ireland will continue their warm acceptance of lesbian and gay couples and families and that a yes vote will be carried.


EQUALITY Same-sex marriage could be enshrined in law
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Nov 7, 2013
Next Article:Ignorance is just net an option.

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