Just days ago Ireland announced a residing yes for marriage equality. After all the negativity surrounding the vote and the harmful ‘No’ campaign, equality won. The result was so positive it’s mind blowing and I couldn’t be happier for everyone. Anyone who’s knows me or who read my last blog who know my feelings on equality for gay people but it sure was so difficult road for so many friends.
It was pretty awful watching gay friends, Irish friends, friends who couldn’t vote and friends of Irish decent worry so frequently about the weekends events. It not only forced them to confront the homophobia in their country but also forced so many to question their family and friend’s opinions about their sexuality. It never occurred to me that the hurtful truth was even though they had the love and support from their family about their choice of partner and ‘lifestyle,’ the subject of gay marriage would divide not only the country but families.
I witnessed my friends put up messages on social media about their hope for a yes vote only to receive a comment from an aunt or uncle about why they were in fact voting no, even though they have ‘no problem’ with them being gay. It astounded and dumb founded me. I didn’t realise how ignorant I was to think that this makes no sense just because it makes no sense to me. So many of the arguments for no (from individuals with an acceptance for ‘gay’ people) seemed misinformed and strange to me.
On a more extreme side of the no campaign I saw slogans stating ‘a baby deserves a mother and father’ and ‘If we allow this, what next?’ these slogans would even be followed by a photo of a distraught child supposedly adopted by a gay couple or someone committing an act of terrorism. Terrorism and sexuality? Since when were these related issues? It is so often that I’m a saddened by how easily we can spread opinions to a wide audience no matter how uninformed it may be. Free speech is of course a beautiful thing but so scary when a family member or even stranger can use it to hide behind a computer and spread hate or just alter others opinions. Of course not all arguments were so extreme but it did become a small obsession of mine to check out some of the no campaign tactics. I suppose at first I wanted at least one argument to make sense to me. A way of understanding why they felt gay marriage would cause so much anguish, other than it just not being the norm.
The deeper I looked into the no campaign the more I didn’t understand but I can tell you for sure there wasn’t a second I thought their campaign would win. Yes I was being optimistic and yes Ireland has a track record for sticking to tradition but a hate campaign in 2015 to win votes is not only backwards but an insulting way to win. I hoped with all my might younger generations would see this especially. By no means am I saying that all no campaigners are evil or extremists but just that some of the opinions I saw did cut very deep and I found hard to swallow. I am also not saying this referendum now solves all problems that the LGBT community face in Ireland especially but it sure is a stepping stone and is definetly historic.
How incredible it was to see people stand together and celebrate the beginning of something beautiful. I’m a total sap for any gathering where a country is united for a great cause but Sunday got me especially chocked up. This referendum seems like the best thing to happen to a nation this year and what an amazing effect it will have on the country and now the counties to follow.
It’s so easy to get bogged down but all the bad things that happen in the world and how slow progress is. People even in this day and age still find it difficult to except traditions outside their religion, culture, race etc… But for a country that was once deemed ‘backwards’ by not only outsiders but by some of it’s own residents, it’s mayor. I think that’s why with all the hate campaigns and stronge opinions leading up to the result I couldn’t help but see the positive mark Ireland were making just by having the referendum. A country like Ireland ruled by religion and tradition just putting forward the vote for gay marriage was always a massive step forward.
The world thanks you Ireland and now it just begs the question; If Ireland can do it why not you?
Sleep easier world.
Much love, Gabby xxx