Marriage referendum: World’s media keeps watchful eye

Papers in the US, UK, Pakistan and India all devote column inches to Friday’s vote

Author Colm Tóibín:  The ‘Washington Post’ features a piece by him on  Ireland’s growing tolerance towards LGBT issues. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

Author Colm Tóibín: The ‘Washington Post’ features a piece by him on Ireland’s growing tolerance towards LGBT issues. Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

 

Ireland’s seminal vote on same-sex marriage has ignited interest from the international media.

An article in Saturday’s Washington Post says Ireland has been “one of the toughest places in the western world to be gay” down through the years, but that it now appears to be “preparing for its coming-out party” in light of favourable poll results for the Yes side.

The paper reflects on the “breathtaking” social change in recent years, leading to a situation where “a majority of Ireland appears ready to defy church teachings and vote to give same-sex partners the same right to marry as heterosexual couples”.

It carries testimony from former Fianna Fáil minister Pat Carey, who came out in the media before the referendum debates and Evana Boyle from the Mothers and Fathers Matter group. The Post’s website also features a blog post from author Colm Tóibín which explores Ireland’s growing tolerance towards LGBT issues.

Interest has also peaked among our nearest neighbours, with the Observer running a piece on the “bitter row” over funding for both the Yes and No campaigns.

It carried denials by the “lavishly funded” US-based National Organization for Marriage that it provided funds to the No side, and repeated criticisms of Chuck Feeney’s Atlantic Philanthropies for contributions to bodies advocating a Yes vote.

The Daily Mail mentions the gains made by No campaigners after warnings that a Yes vote “might lead to an increase in adoptions and surrogacy births involving gay couples”.

On the other side of the planet, The Australian lists the numerous high-profile celebrities who have supported the Yes side, while the Sydney Morning Herald carries a comment piece by legal expert George Williams on why a referendum might not be the right way to go.

He writes: “Ireland shows the danger of entrenching social values in a nation’s constitution. What may seem unobjectionable at one point in time can prevent reform 50 years or even a century down the track.”

Elsewhere, readers in India and Pakistan are also playing close attention, with the Times of India, the Hindustan Times and Pakistan’s Express Tribune all carrying pieces on the debates.