Ireland’s Same Sex Marriage Referendum: The Losing Side responds.

by Grania Spingies

In May this year Ireland voted to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. The results demonstrated that there is a bizarre disconnect in the Catholic Church. While Bishops and other dignitaries urged a No vote and then denounced the subsequent result; the slam-dunk victory for equality came from the very people the Bishops had been counting on: the average Irish Catholic.

Some of the subsequent responses of those hoping for a No vote have been saner than others.

Prior to the election certain hard-liners amongst the clergy had warned that the Church would no longer conduct the civil part of the marriage ceremony if Ireland voted Yes. It’s not clear to me whether this was intended to be some sort of threat to motivate the general public to vote for the “right” thing; or whether the powers that be were simply overthinking things and thought this would protect them from having to conduct same sex marriages. Either way, they have done an about-face on this position. Considering the demand for civil ceremonies is on the rise in Ireland and church attendance is dwindling, this may have been a very sensible decision on the part of the Bishops. They had little to gain, but there was the prospect of plenty of money and good will to lose.

Then there were the law suits. These were private applications challenging the legality of the Referendum. Both seemed to be weak and spurious claiming that the Referendum was “unfair”. The argument seemed to be based on the fact that more people appeared to be voicing support for a Yes vote and that therefore the No vote was not getting equal coverage.

My favorite allegation: An Post (the Irish post office) issuing a St Valentine’s Day Love stamp with an equality symbol was a “subliminal message” influencing the Irish voter.


Both cases lost and their appeals were rejected yesterday.

Last, and almost certainly least, we get to the lonely campaign waged by the so-called Dublin-based “Children’s Protection Society”, whose decades-long battle against modernity and secularism makes liberal use of conspiracy theories and made-up facts; from their 1996 battle against condoms being made available in vending machines, to their rabid pro-life screed (it’s certainly colorful and creative) and in recent days this was handed out at a public shopping center.


It’s possible that this is simply meant as a punitive rebuke to all those who voted Yes in the Referendum. One can only assume that its authors firmly believe that no-one knows how to use the Internet to verify its spittle-flecked claims.

Either way, they’ve lost. There isn’t going to be a do-over. Only time will tell whether the naysayers will choose to accept that gracefully or whether they will continue to rail against it.


  1. merilee
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:12 pm | Permalink


  2. eric
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Meh. That’s not a screed, this is a screed. Although one could make the point that the Irish fundies are at least more literate than their American counterparts, given that their screeds don’t rely on pictures.

    • Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      That’s not a knife! That’s a knife!

    • Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Try the pro-life link.
      It has pictures.


      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 1, 2015 at 1:54 am | Permalink

        Jeeeezus! What a load of bullshit.

        But they give themselves away with the multi-coloured type and the discordant layout. Just like crank websites.

        If only all the opposition were so half-baked.


        • Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

          Don’t they know that all those colors =rainbow=gay??? LOL

  3. Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    That survey is a piece of work. I find it deeply offensive. It’s just as well I don’t live in Ireland, because anyone giving me one of those would be asking for a good clout in their earhole.

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      It is fundamentally nasty and you are right to be offended. Fortunately it is also so ludicrous that one cannot help but laugh at it. Either way, happily, the Irish people have shown that they can see through such ill-considered ranting.

      • Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:14 am | Permalink

        I’m very appreciative of the humanism of the Irish people.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 6, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Fortunately it is also so ludicrous that one cannot help but laugh at it

        Laughing at them, loudly and in their faces, while they try to push you away, is often more effective than cursing them. Being cursed they generally know how to deal with. But gales of laughter they have less experience of.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted August 6, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          How did that song put it? “You’ve got to be kind to be cruel …”

  4. BobTerrace
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    The “No”s said they are taking their bat and ball and going home.

    They didn’t realize the case of two dozen balls and six bats that were available.

  5. Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’m happy to say that the US has joined the sane club by making SSM legal through the land. Good on Ireland for leading the way!

  6. Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    That flier is maybe the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen. They obviously DON’T understand that people know how to use the internet to look up information.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      Also, there are a lot of people who already know that their claims are rubbish. I for one would have really enjoyed loudly pointing out all the errors in their survey, and I’m sure there are others who would do the same.

  7. ascanius
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    in the us, the anti-gay religious lobbyists are gearing up their efforts to enshrine into law their ability to discriminate against lgbts and their families on religious grounds and to defeat any measures prohibiting discrimination in hiring or housing.

    many people don’t know that in 29 states, lgbts can still be fired and denied housing just for being (or for being suspected of being) gay.

    the “first amendment defense act” being introduced in congress with about 150 representatives and senators already signed on as sponsors allows pretty much carte blanche discrimination based on religious conscience.

    the texas supreme court just ruled that the houston city council violated the citizens’ rights by not allowing all citizens to vote on the city’s lgbt anti-discrimination statute that was passed by council. so the rights of a minority will have to be voted on once again by a hostile majority.

    it looks like at least another decade of battles against christians trying to encode their anti-gay bigotry into civil law.

    2016 is pivotal because of potential scotus appointments. any more scalias and alitos on the bench and the church/state separation which has been eroding since reagan will collapse.

    • Posted July 31, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      many people don’t know that in 29 states, lgbts can still be fired and denied housing just for being (or for being suspected of being) gay.

      Hard to believe any of that would stand up to a SCOTUIS challenge.

      I agree that 2016 (as was 2008 and 2012) will be critical for the US future because of the SCOTUS. I sure wish Scalia would have a sudden fatal heart attack. Did I say that?! 🙂

      • BobTerrace
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Thomas too.

        • E.A. Blair
          Posted July 31, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

          There are RATS in SCOTUS. These are the SCOTUS RATS:


          When you have rats, it’s time to call Orkin.

          • BobTerrace
            Posted July 31, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            I don’t mind Roberts. He can be reasonable.

            • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
              Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

              Oh, ats!

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted July 31, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

            Of course, the GOP read STAR.

            Several of the GOP candidates have declared that they’re only going to appoint people who would overturn Roe v Wade, or are strict constitutionalists in the Judge Andrew Napolitano mould. (That’s how it’s spelled in proper English – don’t wave your wobbly red line at me!)

            • E.A. Blair
              Posted July 31, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

              No wobbly red lines from me. As a linguist, I understand the distinctions between proscriptive and prescriptive grammarianism*. As an American** the worst I could say of the British-style spellings is that they seem quaint. I must admit, however, to have been tremendously amused when I came across, in a UK edition of a Michael Moorcock novel, the word “maneuver” spelled “manoeuvre”, and I personally prefer “catalogue”, “analogue” and “dialogue” to “catalog”, “analog” and “dialog”.

              *A spot neologism. I doubt if you’d find it in any dictionary.

              **Though the antics of many of my fellow nationals often makes me wish I could claim otherwise.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted August 6, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

                grammarianism : blogs by that name, dictionary entries. Bet lost. Obviously other people think in the same way that you were thinking. And have been thinking so since about 1913.

            • Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

              But U.S. judges are moldy, not mouldy🐸
              Lose the extra letters, already, like the extra i in aluminum- LOL.

              • Posted August 1, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

                I heard recently that “alumin[i]um” was originally “alumium”.


          • Les
            Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

            A president’s Supreme Court Justice selections has generational impact. If Gore had won over Bush, add 2 justices to the Ginsberg side of the court and subtract 2 from the RATS. Gay marriage 7-2 instead of
            5-4. Capital punishment abolished. Citizens United …

            • E.A. Blair
              Posted August 1, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

              This is something that, I perceive, a huge majority of US voters fail to comprehend – that the politics of the president they elect could determine the makeup of the Supreme Court for the next generation – something that cannot be undone even with a 99% majority in both houses.

          • rickflick
            Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

            I’ve never heard of Orkin. Is he on the federal bench? 😎

      • chris moffatt
        Posted August 1, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Such cases aren’t likely to come before the SCOTUS. Unless employment issues have some interstate implications that bring them under the aegis of the constitution the laws of states apply. Many states have laws that employment is “at will” meaning an employee can be fired, or can quit (the laws are even-handed) for any reason at all or for no reason.

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Shirer’s “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” was widely condemned as unscholarly though it sold well due to its bracing prose style.

    It’s actually quite bigoted against both Germans and Lutherans, which I suppose may warm the cockles of the hearts of traditionalist Irish.

    He isn’t really the !*first*! historian of the German Third Reich, though arguable the first to have a popular best-seller. Raul Hilberg’s “The Destruction of the European Jews” was published 4 years earlier.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 3:59 am | Permalink

      Shirer was condemned as unscholarly by professional historians, who were jealous that a mere journalist, from living in Nazi Germany for many years, could do a better job than they could.

  9. Curt Nelson
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Would you have voted Democratic if you had known that Republicans are lying liars who lie?

  10. Geoff Benson
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    What kind of English is “I myself”?

    As opposed to I, somebody else?

    Simply goes to show the low level of education these people have obtained.

    • Posted July 31, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      It’s just a bit old-fashioned, but it’s not technically incorrect.

      • Posted July 31, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t say it’s really old fashioned. Reflexive pronouns like “myself” can be used for emphasis, especially regarding your personal involvement or unaided effort: “I will take care of this myself.” But never, “Myself will take care of this.”


        • Posted August 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

          I hate “Harry and myself ( or, even worse, Myself and Harry) will take care of it.”

      • phil
        Posted July 31, 2015 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        I’m uncertain exactly how to read “~Grania”. I’m guessing it means “Grania, Acting Temporary Professor Ceiling Cat”.

        • Posted August 2, 2015 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          I’m not acting anything, I’m just a minion. 😉


          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted August 6, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

            I have this sinking feeling that photos of cats in minion costumes will soon be appearing.
            You know the old Barnam-ism about nobody ever got poor by underestimating the taste of the public? Supporting evidence.

    • James Walker
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      It may be an Irish English thing. I don’t know Irish Gaelic well but I did study Scots Gaelic for a while and it’s common to use reflexives to emphasize the subject. Irish English shows a lot of other influences from Irish Gaelic.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 6, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        I recall such conversations with friends from the Western Islands. Constructions and a pace of speech that seem straight out of a previous century fit the Gaelic perfectly well.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      I personally have no problem with “I myself”.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Depends on the context. “I have shot myself in the foot” is perfectly OK, of course. Grammatically, that is.

      “I myself have shot endangered species” is also OK (grammatically!) where the ‘myself is used to emphasize the “I”.


  11. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious to know how they expect people to answer without marking the paper.

  12. chris moffatt
    Posted July 31, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m not clear on the concept; can someone tell me what exactly the “losers” have lost?

    As for the Nazis, Hitler purged many of the gays in the party in 1934. After the night of the long knives gays were hunted down. Some of the first inmates of Dachau, the first prison camp, were gay – they even had their own pink identifiers.

    • phil
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      They’ve lost some face, but it was an ugly bit of face.

    • phil
      Posted July 31, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      And they lost the contest, which must be pretty galling for an authoritarian outfit like the RC church. That means their authority has been eroded, and hoo-bloody-ray!

      Ok ok, so we have work to do with Tony Abbott, who is a boofhead.

  13. Posted July 31, 2015 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on dyke writer and commented:
    Canada passed marriage equality legislation and the Conservative Party ran on a promise to overturn it. They held a vote and that vote lost.

    10 years later Canadians watched with amusement at the American right wing panic over marriage equality – and between Canada and Spain in 2003, there’s like 30 other countries and America and Ireland are some of the last of the western nations to get a grip and realize that religion is the problem = seriously – how does that flyer not get noticed for it’s admission that the catholic church is abusing children? when did pedophiles become better than adult queers?

    • Posted August 1, 2015 at 1:54 am | Permalink

      In their rush to claim that “homosexuals” were the center of the church pedo problem, they also admit something else they won’t admit in public, that there are gays in the church. I find their numbers suspect at best.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 1, 2015 at 2:02 am | Permalink

        I found it surprising that they chose to mention it. I would have thought they would have left it buried. Unless it was intended as a pre-emptive strike against anyone who brought it up.


      • Posted August 1, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        when I worked at the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective (BC Canada) we got a letter from a practising coounsellor that claimed that 90% of all canadian children were satanically abused. That would mean a majority of canadians were satanists, in which case, that would be a public majority and we’d have a very different nation than we did. before c51 I mean…… I have said too much,.

  14. peepuk
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 3:33 am | Permalink

    This survey seems a bit biased.

  15. Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Do I read between the lines correctly about the Irish marriage vote – that Irish churches will be required to marry gays?

    • Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Not at all. The legislation is still to be enacted, but there is no chance that the Church will be required to do anything.

      The whole issue was about whether the Church should perform any civil function at all in any marriage ceremony they performed; which would have forced anybody getting married in the Church to also go through a civil ceremony in a registrar’s office.
      The backtracking on that issue was probably because the bishops realised that all it would really achieve is give people yet another reason to not support their local parish.

      • Posted August 1, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Thanks. 🙂

        As far as I can tell, Denmark is the only place where churches are now required to perform gay marriages.

        Personally, I believe churches should not be required to perform wedding ceremonies for anyone they don’t wish. But I also believe churches should be out of the marriage business altogether. Their ceremonies of matrimony (not to be confused with a civil marriage ceremony) should not be recognized by the State – marriage should remain a clearly delineated and secular institution.

        I think such an arrangement would be preferable, in the long run, to one where the State would not recognize the secular marriage ceremony of any church which does not offer gay marriage. (Yeah, I know we are not there yet, but I think it will be inevitable)

  16. James Walker
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Most of my family is Irish Catholic (though in Canada for several generations now) and even the more observant will cheerfully ignore the hierarchy on issues around homosexuality, birth control, divorce, etc.

  17. Posted August 1, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that letter from 1996 is amazing…A girl bought a condom and died from drugs? Even if that is true, is the implication supposed to be that anyone who uses a condom will also take drugs?

    • Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      Ireland, believe it or not, had a bitter battle to legalize condoms – it was only in 1985 that you could get them without a doctor’s prescription, and then only in a pharmacy or similar. It was, of course, fought against tooth and nail by the usual suspects.

      In the 90s the law was amended again, and allowed for condoms to be sold in other places, hence the offending vending machine in the letter. The general belief among those opposed to contraceptives was that the country would fall into ruin and become a den of iniquity if people were allowed to regulate their reproduction.

      To this day you can still come across the occasional person who believes that the 2008 economic depression was caused by Ireland’s permissiveness and increased secularism.


      • Posted August 1, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

        It’s the heads I win, tails you lose premise. The global economic collapse had nothing to do with the recession, but promiscuity did. Then God, in his infinite grace, allowed things to improve again despite the fact that condom use remained the same. But be warned, he’ll smite us again soon if we don’t shape up!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 6, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        In the mid-80s I was visiting my parents on the Plains of Englandshire shortly before they went over to Ireland for a holiday, during which they were to visit friends in Dublin. The parents had asked if there was anything that was needed from Englandshire.
        Shortly after getting the letter back (remember letters? – like emails you print out and tie to a pigeon’s leg), I turned up for a few days and was instantly dispatched to the town centre to get a couple of dozen-quantity boxes of condoms, for the teenagers of the family. Dad didn’t actually know where to buy them in town, and presumed (wrongly) that I’d know.)
        But I figured it out. And the world was saved from being over-run by Anglo-Greek Irish cooks. A fate worse than which …

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 7, 2015 at 2:06 am | Permalink

          Did your purchase occasion raised eyebrows? “Well they’re not actually for me, of course…”?


          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted August 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

            No, why would it? Couple of boxes of a dozen each, by someone who literally comes into that town for less than a week a year. Outside family, I don’t think I know anyone in my home town anymore.
            Correction – I repeatedly bump into someone from my school days who is driving taxis. I come up the line from The Great Wen to save hotel costs often enough that we’ve maintained recognition when he’s at the station rank.

  18. rickflick
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    “The times they are a changin”.

%d bloggers like this: