Marriage referendum

 

A chara, – I know there are those who are worried this amendment may be rejected, but isn’t it a bit much to start arguing in advance that if it is, it was because many young people thought they had voted on social media (“Kathy Sheridan: Voting and ‘Liking’ are not the same thing”, Opinion & Analysis, May 6th)?

The article calls them digital natives, but then goes on to treat them as virtual naïfs, ethereal creatures living in the online world who simply don’t understand understand the complexities of registering and voting; innocents who don’t realise that in the real world you sometimes have to show up in person. It is all a bit patronising; having a smartphone doesn’t mean your brain is in your pocket.

I know we’d all prefer if everyone voted, but we can’t force them to. And, when it comes right down to it, not caring enough to vote and leaving it up to those who do is a decision in itself. – Is mise,

Rev PATRICK G BURKE,

Castlecomer,

Co Kilkenny.

Sir, – Unlike Brian Lacey (May 5th), I am glad the Government decided to hold a referendum on marriage equality. It gives us the opportunity after so many years of intolerance, discrimination and oppression of the gay community, to demonstrate that lesbians and gay men are now accepted as fully equal members of a more liberal and tolerant Irish society.

I hope the electorate will reject the spurious logic of the No campaign with its misleading slogan that every child deserves a mother and a father, which is deeply hurtful to thousands of single parents as well as lesbian or gay couples. What every child deserves and needs is a loving and caring parent or parents, regardless of whether she, he or they are single, in a same-sex relationship, or an opposite-sex one.

The other disingenuous argument is that lesbians and gay men have civil partnerships now, so why can’t they be satisfied with that and leave marriage to opposite-sex couples? That is the argument that used to be used by racial segregationists in the southern states of the US or in apartheid South Africa. They claimed that they provided separate but equal facilities for black and white, but segregation is never equal.

While the difference between civil partnerships and marriage is not like the gulf between black and white in Alabama or South Africa, there is still the fundamental issue of dignity and respect. One status will inevitably be seen as superior to the other. I hope and believe that the Irish people will vote for equality and to end second-class citizenship for lesbians and gay men on May 22nd. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL FARRELL,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Well over 40 per cent of the adult population in Ireland is single and nobody is suggesting for a moment that these are somehow not equal citizens because they are not married. Yet one side of the referendum is promoting the notion that by voting Yes between 2 and 4 per cent of single adults will then be allowed to become equal citizens, something that they already are.

So why do we have the bizarre notion that we need a referendum to extend or redefine the idea of marriage or to eradicate the delusion that the love of single people is somehow inferior to the love of married people. How have we lost the plot?

Who said these citizens needed to have the “married” tag placed upon them in order gain respect, something they may already have for free? – Yours, etc,

SEAMUS O’CALLAGHAN,

Carlow.

Sir, – Can anyone suggest a term to describe my connection to my sister’s civil partner? I would love to be able to call her my sister-in-law, thereby truly welcoming her into our extended family. – Yours, etc,

CIANA CAMPBELL

Ennis, Co Clare.

Sir, – The current restriction of the institution of marriage to heterosexual couples could be undone by a combination of case law and legislation. Should a change in the social climate have caused a broadening of the generally accepted meaning of the term, this can be tested in the courts. Or, since our politicians seem almost unanimously in favour of change, they could legislate. Better by far than burdening the Constitution with another awkward accretion, one which would not sit well with the surrounding claptrap of Article 41 about the nature of “the family” and the role of “woman in the home”. That’s the bit that needs pruning! – Yours, etc,

NOREEN

O’DONOVAN HAGE,

Ballydehob,

Co Cork.

Sir, – I am 89 years of age and I shall certainly be voting Yes in the marriage referendum. I know this to be just and fair – there has been too much bullying and discrimination by some people and institutions. Of course I have not been intimidated to vote Yes. I wish all who marry long lives of happiness and tenderness, lived out in dignity and respect. – Yours, etc,

SARAH HJ POYNTZ,

Ballyvaughan,

Co Clare.

Sir, – With regard to equality, are platonic unions (eg groups of widows who decide to look after each other, or any other couple or group who claim to love each other) less equal than sexual unions? Why can such people not be accommodated within the changes to marriage legislation?

On consideration, why should the State meddle in loving relationships of any kind? The proposed constitutional change, if passed, is likely to give rise to a raft of divisive legislation that will create a new alienated minority (many of the No voters) whose values will clash with those of the State. It will leave others dissatisfied that their needs are not being catered for. A more comprehensive solution is to make a constitutional change that allows for the creation of legal instruments that enable the complete spectrum of parties to draw up their own bespoke contracts. – Yours, etc,

RAY KEOGH,

Bray, Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I presume if the marriage equality referendum passes, some married gay couples will become purveyors of those jokes currently the shtick of bitter married straight folk. You know the kind of thing: “My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” As a nation we should embrace equality in humour. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN AHERN,

Dublin 15.