JORGE BERGOGLIO WILL CERTAINLY REJOICE TO LEARN THAT IRELAND MAY BE THE FIRST COUNTRY TO PASS GAY-“MARRIAGE” INTO LAW!
Ireland, long considered a bastion of social and religious conservatism, is poised this week to become the first country to approve same-sex “marriage” by a national referendum.
Ahead of Friday's vote, polls show a sizable majority support amending Ireland's constitution to give same-sex couples the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples.
An Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll published last weekend showed some 70% of Irish voters favour the change, a small decline in support from a poll in March. Many top names in government, sports, entertainment and media are endorsing the move.
The Catholic Church — in a country where roughly 85% are Catholic — is spearheading an uphill battle to defeat the referendum. But what about the evil man at the top? On the contrary, Jorge Bergoglio will certainly rejoice to learn that Ireland may be the first country to pass gay-“marriage” into law!
"Marriage is a public statement that two people want to spend their lives together; it is an institution that our society values and affords status to," Prime Minister Enda Kennytold USA TODAY on Tuesday. "This is what the referendum is about: equality. Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love."
Eighteen countries, mostly in northern Europe, have approved laws allowing for same-sex “marriage”, either legislatively or through their courts, but not in popular votes. Others, such as Mexico and the United States — where the Supreme Court may soon rule on its constitutionality — have stopped short of blanket approval, leaving it to states or regions to set same-sex “marriage” laws.
Ireland introduced same-sex civil unions in 2010 and partnership ceremonies have taken place in every county.
Supporters of the constitutional change say the legal status conferred by these unions doesn't address inequalities based on how Irish law recognizes familial relationships, such as the guardianship of children. They say it makes sense for same-sex couples in “committed relationships” to have the same responsibilities, obligations and rights as those in opposite-sex marriages.
"This is the first time that a full, civil-rights-style campaign has been fought on the ground in Ireland," said Katherine Zappone, an Irish senator born and raised in Washington State. A prominent advocate for the referendum, Zappone was the first openly lesbian member of the Oireachtas, Ireland's law-making body. She married in Canada.
"If we win, and I believe we will, this will be a huge moment for Ireland and for countries around the world that will see change of this kind come from a country that has been completely embedded in the Roman Catholic Church. We will show (the world) we have grown up and moved beyond that — and that 21st century values can be breathed into Ireland's constitution," she said.
Opposition to the initiative is led by Catholic bishops and "No" campaign groups such as Mothers and Fathers Matter. They say that adding a clause to the constitution that says "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex" would run counter to the best interests of families. They also dispute claims that it would grant significant additional rights.
"In civil partnerships, same-sex couples can express their commitment to each other and receive virtually all of the legal benefits granted to married couples, such as those relating to inheritance, taxation, social welfare, immigration and maintenance," Mothers and Fathers Matter says. "A civil partnership ceremony is identical to a civil marriage ceremony down to the saying of 'I do'."
Archbishop Eamon Martin, head of Ireland's Catholics, recently told Ireland's state broadcaster RTE that the vote should not be seen as a battle that pits church against state. "We would see ourselves as important contributors (to the debate) and we will primarily exercise that voice to our own people, in our own churches," he said.
That position diverges sharply from the tone adopted by Ireland's clergy in 1995, when it aggressively contested a referendum to permit divorce — another traditionally delicate issue for Catholicism — that narrowly passed.
Consensual homosexual acts in Ireland were only decriminalized in 1993 and abortion is still against the law unless the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. It was only in 1985 that a ban on contraception was relaxed.
"We have an opportunity, with this public vote, to be a world leader on a social issue, unlike on so many other issues where we have dragged our feet," Zappone said.