On May 22nd Ireland will be the first country in Europe to address the issue of same sex marriage with a popular vote, a landmark in equality. Polls suggest that the majority of the country are in favour of legalising same sex marriage, but as with any debate there is an opposition movement. The ‘Vote Yes’ Crowd have a straightforward argument, equality.
What is the reasoning behind the ‘Vote No’ side?
Inevitably in anything that involves personal freedom bibles are thumped and cries of, ‘It’s against God’s will!’ sound out. The argument is pretty much just that the Sky-Daddy will have no truck with homosexual marriage as stated somewhere in his bestseller (somewhere around where he says you can’t wear garments of mixed fibers or eat owls).
I have nothing against the belief in an omnipotent creator being. However, if you consider that the observable universe has a diameter of 93 billion light years and encompasses between 100 and 200 billion galaxies, which in turn collectively contain an estimated 7000 billion trillion stars it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine a cosmic superbeing outside of all of this looking in and saying, ‘Guys, no homo, ‘kay?’ On top of this, it is important to remember is that the upcoming referendum is about civil marriage, not religious marriage. It’s a purely governmental and legislative move, it has no sway over any religious institution.
Another argument is that this referendum will be redefining marriage for everyone for the sake of a small minority. Marriage has been rebooted and redefined more times than the Spider-man franchise. Dowries, political marriages, arranged marriages, all of these used to be part of the ‘definition’ of marriage. All have since gone away. This referendum will bring in a more equal concept of marriage for us all, and we don’t have to worry about Andrew Garfield ruining it.
‘Marriage is for procreation!’ goes yet another objection, ‘homosexual couples cannot produce children therefore they shouldn’t be allowed to marry!’
This argument does a nice job of invalidating the marriages of straight couples who, for one reason or another cannot, or have chosen not to have children. As stated above the definition of marriage has changed, and people have been living in happy marriages for decades without having to squirt out some offspring. Marriage isn’t some manner of breeding programme, there’s 7 billion of us, we’re doing fine.
The most troubling, and frankly glib argument I’ve come across, decries the ‘disregard’ for children’s rights. The argument states that a same sex couple is inadequate when it comes to raising a child because a child needs the influence of both genders to develop a rounded personality and grow into a happy adult.
I call this the Captain Planet fallacy:
“Man, Woman, by your powers combined I am ‘FUNCTIONAL HUMAN’!”
People don’t work this way, thousands of perfectly happy people come from single parent households or from same sex parents. Stability and parental guidance is what matters, not the ratio of genitalia that’s present in the household. Regardless, the upcoming referendum has little to do with the adoption laws as they exist now, that will be the subject of another referendum some time in the future.
A lot of the ‘No’ sides arguments do seem to be red herrings. Whether the real objections are a flailing attempt to maintain the status quo, or just a luddite sentiment of ‘Gay? Ew that’s icky!’ withholding rights from people on grounds as superficial as sexual orientation is not the right choice.
If the referendum goes through, Ireland will be the 12th country within the EU to recognise same sex marriage, and we’ll be one step closer to true equality for all.