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.