So I’ve been quiet for the last while. Various reasons. The new job, the new life, the new city. The ups and downs of life. All of it has kept me away from the blog. But with the Marriage Equality referendum a little under a week away, it would be remiss of me not to say something, especially given how vocal I’ve been for Marriage Equality in the past. I’ve proudly supported the marriage equality campaign since before the referendum was but a twinkle in Enda Kenny’s eye.
To be honest, I’ve been reluctant to add too much to the noise that surround the whole thing. It’s been an exhausting campaign and I’m thousands of miles away. I can’t imagine what those who’ve put shoe leather to pavement and knocked on doors are feeling. Still, even in Montréal I’ve been able to follow the swings and roundabouts of the referendum campaign. The frustration at the tactics of the Iona Institute and it’s many shell organisations, or whatever the fuck they are, is just as palpable here. The misinformation and the scare tactics have not gone unnoticed. It still hurts to be referred to as “grotesque”, “disordered” and less than ideal. I’m sure you’ve heard it all at this stage. And the counter arguments too. It’s been hashed and rehashed repeatedly.
But do you know what? I get it. They’re scared. They’re seeing the last vestiges of the power structures that kept Ireland in hoc to the Church and the gombeen men of the last century being stripped away. And it rightfully frightens the shit out of them. Change is tough. Change is hard. And when you’re so caught up, so vested in maintaining the status quo, you’ll do anything to keep hold of the reins. I don’t blame the soft no voters either. As Panti herself pointed out in her Noble Call, it’s no surprise that a lot of people are still “a little bit homophobic”. Growing up in the Ireland that we grew up in will do that to you, and the older you are the more under the influence you’ll unfortunately have been. That there are so many of my parent’s generation who are in favour of a yes is a testament to their strength. So it’s not surprising that some people just feel a bit “ick”. Of course, just because it’s not surprising, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt still to see people wavering and dithering. To see them allowing themselves to be sucked in by the lies of the iOnanists. Whatever, it just sucks.
What doesn’t suck though, is the positivity I’ve seen from all walks of Irish life coming out in favour of a yes vote. Just yesterday we had Daniel O’Donnell joining Mary McAleese, Eamon Coughlan, Brendan O’Carroll, Bosco and countless others. For me though, the most heartening support has been from ordinary people. Straight people. For whom marriage equality will not directly impact. But they saw the right thing had to be done and didn’t stand idly by. Like my friend Rebecca who’s thrown herself into the Yes Equality Cork campaigning. Like our wedding photographer Ronan Palliser who put together the little video below of his own volition to stand with us. And countless others. It sickens me that we’ve had to ask for marriage equality. That the LGBT community has literally had to go door to door to ask for the right to marry. But it embiggens my heart to see so many others take up the fight, to stand with us. To say that it’s not right that we have to ask but that if that’s the way it has to be, they will help to make the answer yes.
Of course I want you to vote yes. I could go on about civil rights, fairness, equality. But you’ve heard that all before. For me it’s personal. I married my love last July in a humanist ceremony. He is my husband in my heart. But on paper he is my civil partner. There was a reason we had the legal bit the day before our ceremony. It would have meant the world to us to have both the legal and the ceremonial tied together like so many of my straight friends and family have been able to do. But it wasn’t to be. But hopefully some day soon we’ll be able to take our place as equals. As a married couple in the eyes of Irish law. Please. Vote yes on Friday 22nd May.
Update: I just wanted to add this link as well – https://storify.com/Viriconia/dunnes-canvass-exchange – t’was reading this helped me see the leaders of the No campaign for what they really are and inspired me to put virtual pen to metaphorical paper.