Kathy Sheridan: Where is the God of Love in the same-sex marriage debate?

‘Would He approve the kind of reasoning that consigns up to 10 per cent of his human creation to a living purgatory’

Isn’t it a wonder that any physical damage so far has been limited to poster abuse and a little rogue egg-throwing? Day after day, unknowable numbers of gay people have carried on with their mundane lives, educating our children, protecting the vulnerable, filleting fish, delivering babies, stacking shelves, emptying bedpans, picking potatoes, all against the soundtrack of a war over their wish to be accepted as fully human. I salute you and your restraint.

The aching heart of this campaign has been the spectacle of such people sacrificing their privacy in debates and interviews, tearing open old scars and exposing their most intimate core to the public gaze.

Many times I have wondered what it must be like to watch a beloved child on screen, telling their stories and pleading for equality, only then to see them being told with calm, smiling certainty: “You look normal and can be useful, but the fact is, the God who created me in his 100-per-cent-heterosexual image wants you to know that He fouled up with you and all the other gays. You just don’t get it. You can never have what we have.”

Our purpose on earth

For many on the No side, religion has everything to do with it. There is no point in saying otherwise. It often seemed during this campaign that those who argued for reason over emotion had quite forgotten our purpose on Earth. How many will lie contentedly on their deathbed, thinking, “Well, God, I hope You remember that I’m the one who made sure that the gay couple and their foster-child in Co Offaly were never acknowledged as a family?”

So who is this God, represented all my life as a being obsessed with sexual matters? How does He square with the one I would like to know better – the one of “God is Love” repute? Would He approve the kind of reasoning that consigns up to 10 per cent of his human creation to a living purgatory, deprived of access to our most cherished institution, the symbol of lifelong, faithful union? Why would He do that? And where does He stand, I wonder, on surrogacy, biological connections and transparent bloodlines? For the “surrogacy” cluster bomb to work, we have to believe a) that no Church-married heterosexual has any truck with surrogacy – a blatant lie; and b) that every gay person in the universe aches to buy a baby from a catalogue, like shoes, and smash our pure bloodlines. What a pity there was no one to agitate about bloodlines when unknowable numbers of babies were being forcibly taken for adoption, often in His name, after their biological fathers had vanished like wraiths, neither traceable nor accountable.

It is entirely possible in this tiny country that people have unwittingly married close relatives or even siblings as a result. So perhaps a weary God may conclude that it’s a little late to start agitating about bloodlines. And what would He make of David Quinn’s revelation to Buzzfeed News about the No side’s strategy? Basically, it’s “Keep talking about the children”. That was the “loud and clear” advice that came back to them from anti-marriage equality campaigners in every country. “Marriage is inherently bound up with the right to found a family,” he told the reporter.

“. . . Obviously the only way two men or two women can found a family is by violating a child’s right to have a mother and a father.” So nothing there about God – but there is that neat Catch-22, one that has nothing to do with surrogacy.

“Founding” a family by say, adopting or fostering a child still won’t cut it if you’re a gay couple. I wonder what a loving God would say to that?

Or to Evana Boyle's revelations to the Washington Post? Described as "an organiser" for Mothers and Fathers Matter (MFM), she told the Post that "her side is counting on a backlash to a new era in which homosexuality has become 'normalised'.

Attempts to indoctrinate

“When even Catholic schools plan lessons around LGBT Awareness Week,” she said, she needs to be on guard against attempts to indoctrinate her own children. “The idea of having two dads, they just go ‘Eww, that’s not right’,” she said.

That version of reason, inculcated – as she indicated – in her children and rippling out to extended families and communities, holds that homosexuality is deviant and gay parents disgusting.This is the message designed to work its way through to, say, a teenage foster-child of same sex partners in Co Offaly. What would God say to that child and that decent little family? That MFM thinks they are disgusting and so does He?

I am heartsick at what we have witnessed in these past weeks. I believe my God is too. @kathysheridanIT