Marriage referendum: Coveney calls No side arguments ‘bogus’

Minister welcomes Referendum Commission’s move to clarify adoption rights

Simon Coveney watches as Taoiseach Enda Kenny pins a ‘Yes’ badge onto Health Minister, Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

Simon Coveney watches as Taoiseach Enda Kenny pins a ‘Yes’ badge onto Health Minister, Leo Varadkar. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins.

 

Arguments put forward by the No side in the same-sex marriage referendum have been described as “bogus” by Fine Gael’s director of elections Simon Coveney.

The Minister for Agriculture welcomed the Referendum Commission’s move to clarify issues surrounding surrogacy and adoption rights for same-sex couples.

“There’s no such thing as an easily-won referendum, but I hope that as the debate continues the Yes side’s argument will get stronger,” Mr Coveney said.

“And many of the arguments that are now shown to be bogus by the Referendum Commission that have been coming from the No side will also be exposed as well.”

Mr Coveney was speaking on Wednesday morning at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, where he was joined by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and prominent sports people who are backing a Yes vote in the referendum on May 22nd.

Among those present were boxer and Fine Gael councillor Kenneth Egan; Shane Byrne from the world of rugby; Irish Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy and snooker player Ken Doherty.

Former Cork hurler Conor Cusack also attended, along with Fine Gael Senator and Olympic runner Eamonn Coghlan.

Also present was former Munster and Ireland hooker Frankie Sheahan, along with rugby players Ailis Egan and Sophie Spence.

Mr Coveney said it would not be correct to assume that everybody in the Catholic Church was united against the referendum. He said some priests have said they would be voting Yes.

However, the views of Church leaders must be respected, he said.

“And that is why we are emphasising the message that this is about civil marriage, not religious marriage,” he said.

“No church will be required to partake in same-sex marriage if they don’t want to.”

“The Referendum Commission today has confirmed that some of the distractions that have been introduced into this debate are no longer relevant to this debate because they’re not relevant to this referendum.

“I hope with that clarification the country will be able to get behind this campaign now in a positive sense, and make a positive statement on Friday week that actually that we don’t want discrimination any longer.”

‘Disgrace’

Gerry Adams has described the posters displayed by the No side in the same-sex marriage referendum as a “disgrace”.

The Sinn Féin leader made his comments while canvassing in Dublin’s city centre for a Yes vote on May 22nd.

Mr Adams said that the political parties other than his own are not canvassing enough during the campaign.

He said: “The issues of surrogacy and adoption have nothing at all to do with the referendum.

“The people involved in putting out the message are smart, intelligent people so it isn’t by mistake.

“They are doing it very carefully to provoke fears.”