Today’s message is specifically for my fellow Irish readers, though I hope many outside this island share these sentiments.
This Friday 22 May, Ireland will vote on the issue of homosexual marriage. This issue has been close to my heart for as long as I can remember, and I am very happy to see that public opinion seems much changed from the first time a friend fearfully whispered his secret to me, terrified of rejection.
It has been very heartening to hear this issue discussed over the last several weeks, and most frequently in a way that favours equality. It has been heartening to see the reactions of people I meet throughout the day to the badge that I wear. Regardless of how the referendum turns out, it is worthwhile knowing that I’ve helped someone feel a measure of acceptance.
I see this as one of the last issues for which equality can be legislated, one of the last aspects where laws can be set down to protect love in its myriad forms. While I’m not directly impacted by homosexual marriage, I do see this as a concrete step towards acceptance of the diverse nature of ways in which people love.
I know that there will never be legislation to protect the nuances of the way I see intimacy- spanking and submission are private issues that should not need to be brought into the public eye (but neither should they be censored, as my friends in the UK are all too well aware).
I count myself lucky that I don’t need to fight to be seen as equal to others in the eyes of the law, but I wish I didn’t need to fear reactions of my friends if I accidentally let something slip about my personal life. I wish I didn’t have to worry about my colleagues finding out I was dating a man twice my age. I wish I could use the title “Sir” in public without arousing suspicion. I wish I lived in a world where people who felt different could openly seek advice from others like them, rather than hiding in anonymity.
I know these are more than wishes. I see the progress we have made on issues like homosexuality even in my own lifetime, and know that this future is coming.
In the meantime, we can continue to do what we do, to write and meet and talk We will continue to seek out, encourage, and comfort those struggling with their intimate nature.
And we can vote, and encourage others to do the same with love in their hearts.
7 thoughts on “Yes Equality”
I wish you all the best with your referendum. It’s a shame the oligarchy that runs the UK doesn’t believe in something so democratic.
Yes, Kia you are absolutely right. I’ve gotten more than a bit despondent about the world we’re leaving our children here in the US on domestic issues. [Will my daughter have affordable access to an abortion if she needs one? Will my son have access to affordable health care? Will money alone run the country?] But, the world can only be improved bit by bit, and what you are doing in Ireland is necessary. Hope people win.
Sue- I have confidence that both nations will see reason. It may just take time, patience, and a great deal of activism.
Jon- I can’t pretend to speak authoritatively on the situation in the US- after all, I’ve left for many of the reasons you’ve cited (among many other happier ones). As you say, we can only do what we can, bit by bit. I’ve seen huge changes already which give me hope. Each country has it’s own nuances, but, with hope and work, we can change things for the better.
I entirely agree on the referendum, and on the rest of what you say about your feelings.
However, as a lawyer, I think there will be more room for “issues for which equality can be legislated.” The right to privacy can and should go much further. Limits on government intrusion into private life can and should be expanded, such as for definitions of marriage. I fully expect to see another generation of progress. My kids and their friends give me much hope in their healthy attitudes.
Hi Mark and welcome! I certainly appreciate the legal perspective, and agree that there is plenty of room to grow with right to privacy and such. What I meant above was merely that in terms of proactive legislation professing people to be equal, we seem to have covered most of the ground already (race, gender, ethnicity, etc, with perhaps plural marriage being a potential next step).
And I most certainly agree that attitudes among younger generations are a source of great hope.
Well done Ireland 🙂 A majority YES vote in all constituencies, urban and rural, except for one. You must be pleased, kia.
Miracle alert: Archbishop of Dublin says Church needs to take a Reality Check. (So many thoughts arise from that I have to put the brakes on)
What next? I’m pleased about the liberal thought emerging there; more seriously, though, what chance of a review of the mediaeval abortion laws. If attitudes changed, maybe even those laws could be implemented with more humanity and less dogma?
It is a great source of hope, isn’t it? Abortion, among other laws that require rethinking, has come up many times in conversation lately. It may take time, but from what I’ve heard I have every reason to believe that reason will prevail given time.
In the meantime, I’m off to celebrate 🙂