Ireland’s Vote for Marriage Equality

by Vice President Joe Biden


Vice President Joe Biden

Last weekend, more than 1.2 million Irish voters took a courageous stand for love and family when they overwhelmingly chose marriage equality.

They recognized the fundamental truth that every person is entitled to dignity and respect, and that there can be no justification for the denigration or persecution of anyone because of who they love or who they are.

I want to thank my good friends Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Tanaiste Joan Burton, for their forceful leadership and eloquent advocacy on this critical issue.

I cannot improve upon the perfectly Irish statements they made following this historic vote, but I can echo the Taoiseach’s words when he described the Irish as “a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people,” and that their choice will be “heard loudly across the living world as a sound of pioneering leadership.”

In 22 years, Ireland has gone from a nation where simply being LGBT was against the law. Now, it is a nation where the people resoundingly stand for equal rights.

And here in the United States, in just the past three years we’ve gone from six states recognizing marriage equality, to 37 states, comprising 224 million Americans. It’s about love. It’s about equality. It’s about dignity. It’s about our most cherished values. That’s what this is about – it’s all it’s ever been about.

There is still work to be done. There are still too many nations that deny people even the right to be safe from violence and severe discrimination, and too many states here in America that allow a person to be fired simply for being lesbian, gay, transgender or bisexual.

But the progress is undeniable. As advocates in Ireland, the United States and around the world have proven time and again, where there’s passion and commitment, there is opportunity.

I continue to believe that in every corner of the world, people want to do the right thing. You should never underestimate the epiphanies that follow when a culture makes a breakthrough of conscience.

But it takes leadership. It takes courageous individuals who are willing to step forward, to turn adversity into positive change, and to truly live the words of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats:

“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.”

—  David Taffet

An Irish man describes how it felt to live in Ireland when marriage equality passed

Ollie MorganAlthough the results of the Irish election legalizing same-sex marriage on May 23 were expected, it was still an emotional day for Ollie Morgan.

A total of 62 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of marriage equality, and that was with a 60 percent voter turnout. Irish law requires a three-month notice for civil marriages, so the first same-sex weddings won’t take place until fall and the Parliament must still pass a marriage bill that will become part of the Constitution.

But that necessary wait didn’t dampen the emotion for Morgan, who lives in Dundalk, a city on Ireland’s east coast near the border with Northern Ireland. He is a former Independent (as in no party affiliation) Dundalk town councillor.

“I never stopped crying all day here on Saturday watching TV as the results came in,” he said during an online chat with me today (May 26).

Morgan called it a great weekend for progress in Ireland. “Opinion polls were consistent from the start of the campaign that the ‘yes’ side was going to win,” he said.

The Labour Party, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, pushed for the referendum that was supported by the ruling Fine Gael party and opposition parties. Only six Independent parliamentarians opposed it.

“A lot of people voted for Labour because of this,” Morgan said. He credited young people with affecting the victory. “The amount of young people that turned out to vote and came home from abroad to vote yes had a huge impact on the outcome of the result,” he added.

Surprisingly, a number of priests defied the official position of the Catholic Church and supported equality.

The Irish Times quoted the archbishop of Dublin who the Catholic Church needs a reality check.

“It’s very clear that if this referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, then the church has a huge task in front of it to find the language to be able to talk to and to get its message across to young people, not just on this issue, but in general,” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said.

Morgan said he wasn’t surprised priests stood on the side of equality. He noted that he lives next to a Redemptorist community, the order where most of the supportive priests came from.

“One in fact used the occasion to come out as gay, I believe,” he said. “A former member of Parliament said that he recognized two priests in the courtyard of Dublin Castle waiting for the result to be announced.”

He said he hopes the vote has a positive effect on gays and lesbians in his country beyond the right of marriage.

“I am hoping this positive result will help gay men who are afraid to come out in the near future,” he said.

—  David Taffet

Ireland voters resoundingly approve same-sex marriage, marking a global first

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 2.18.30 PMIrish voters overwhelmingly approved same-sex marriage today, making it the first country to approve marriage equality at the ballot box.

With 60 percent turn-out, the vote was almost two for one in favor of marriage equality. It passed with 60.2 percent of the vote.

The ballot referendum eliminates language in the country’s constitution restricting marriage to a man and woman.

Early votes and late polls indicated a comfortable victory, but nothing like what the proponents of the measure expected. David Quinn, the leader of the opposition, conceded via Twitter as early returns came in: “Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done.”

Observers hailed it as a global victory. Until now, marriage equality has only been handed down via judicial rulings or through legislation. The vote also shows a shift among residents of the historically socially conservative and rural country with deep ties to the Catholic Church.

“I think this is a moment that rebrands Ireland to a lot of folks around the world as a country not stuck in tradition but that has an inclusive tradition,” Ty Cobb, the international director of the Human Rights Campaign, told the New York Times.

Ireland joins 20 other countries and 37 American states in recognizing marriage equality. The U.S. Supreme Court expected to rule in favor of equality at the end of June.

—  James Russell

What’s Brewing: Sally Kern’s book; poll shows strong support for marriage equality in Ireland

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. Anti-gay Oklahoma State Rep. Sally Kern has written a book (right) about the national outcry over her comments in 2008, when she said homosexuality is a bigger threat to America than terrorism. Below are some of the tags Amazon users have associated with the book.

2. Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a new poll shows that 73 percent of people in Ireland support same-sex marriage.

3. Fewer than 1 percent of state legislators in the U.S. are openly LGBT, but their impact has been huge when it comes to pro-equality legislation, the Associated Press reports. Texas, of course, is one of 18 states that lack an out legislator.

—  John Wright

Ireland gets Civil Partnerships

Great news from Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network:

The Minister for Justice and Law Reform Dermot Ahern TD today signed the Commencement Orders for the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010.

Speaking at the signing of the Commencement Orders, Kieran Rose, chair of GLEN said that “with this signing, the Minister is opening up a great and wide vista of futures, opportunities, celebrations and more secure futures for lesbian and gay couples”. [snip]

The Minister also signed orders which will automatically recognise a wide range of foreign same-sex civil marriages and same-sex civil partnerships as Irish civil partnerships. Same-sex couples who are already married or are civil partners through these recognised foreign relationships will be deemed civil partners in Ireland from early January.

The new law goes into effect January 1, 2011 but most civil partnership ceremonies won’t occur until April because couples planning marriages or civil partnerships must give three months notice to the Civil Registrar before having a ceremony.  Exceptions may be granted by a judge in hardship cases.

Civil partnerships were first enacted in 2004 in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the first ceremonies taking place in December, 2005.  By the beginning of 2010 over 40,000 couples had registered for civil partnerships in the UK.  

Even as Ireland is enacting its civil partnership law, OutRage!’s Equal Love campaign is challenging the UK’s civil partnership law.

By excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage, and different-sex couples from civil partnership, the UK government is discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation, contrary to the human rights act,” said Prof Robert Wintemute, professor of human rights law at Kings College London and legal adviser to the couples. [snip]

In a similar case in June this year the European court of human rights ruled that the European convention on human rights was not violated in Austria, which would not allow two men, Horst Schalk and Johan Kopf, to marry. In that case the court found that the convention did not impose an obligation on European governments to allow same-sex marriage. However Wintemute said that because civil partnerships in the UK give couples the same rights as married couples – unlike in Austria – there is no justification for the UK to withhold access to both arrangements for all.

Fingers crossed for the success of Equal Love’s challenge!  In the mean time, the new civil partnership law in Ireland will allow LGBT couples living or traveling there the same vital legal protections they need to protect their families.

Details on Ireland’s new law and links to the Registrar’s Office can be found at Gay and Lesbian Equality Network‘s website.

UPDATE FROM PAM: We received a note about this video:

The signing of the Civil Partnership Commencement Orders by Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Justice and Law Reform on Thursday 23rd December 2010 in the Clonliffe Room, Jury’s Hotel, Croke Park Stadium, Jones Road, Dublin.

The signing of a Commencement Order is a rarely seen final part of the process to implement an Act which has been passed by the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament), then signed into law by Uachtar?in na hEireann (President of Ireland) and finally implemented on the signing of the Commencement Order by the responsible Government Minister.

The title of the Act is ‘Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010′ and was first presented to D?il ?ireann (lower house of the Irish Parliament) at the First Stage on 24th June 2009 (entitled ‘Civil Partnership Bill 2009′). Completed the the Fifth Stage without a vote on the 1st July 2010. Presented to Seanad ?ireann (upper house of the Irish Parliament) on the 7th July 2010. It finally passed both houses of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) on the 8th July 2010 after a vote of 48 to 4. It was signed into law by Mary McAlese, Uachtar?in na hEireann (President of Ireland), on the 19th July 2010. The signing of the Commencement Order was on 23rd December 2010, the commence date is 3rd January 2011. For a full history of the Act please see the website.

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Will Ireland Elect A Gay President?

Openly gay Sen. David Norris decided to run for president of Ireland after supporters launched a Facebook campaign urging him to enter the race. And now polls show him far ahead.

Although, like the British monarchy’s, the Irish president’s power is more symbolic than real, elections to the post have previously been used to protest against the Republic’s political establishment. Norris is non-aligned, and is hoping to tap into the widespread discontent over the profligacy of the Celtic tiger years and the way the state’s main party, Fianna Fáil, handled the economy. Norris denies his sexuality will be an issue even in more conservative rural parts of Ireland. “It’s a non-issue,” he says. “It’s a non-issue with the people of Ireland. Some may have some concerns, and I hope I am able to address them. I have just had a major radio interview in Dublin and the interviewer asked me about it, and people came on the programme to say ‘Will you get out of that? What does it matter! We want someone with vision … someone who is independent.’

Norris says he has lived a “decent and respectable life” and that those seeking to embarrass him for his sexuality “will find no scandal.”

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

Joel Burns is YouTube Gold

Joel Burns

Joel Burns hit the top of the YouTube charts with his anti-bullying video and it’s having an impact, as we wrote in this week’s Dallas Voice.

On Thursday, the two-week-old “It Gets Better” video hit 2 million views. It continues to receive more than 2,000 views per hour.

For the month it is the most discussed video in News & Politics and received the most votes as favorite video this month as well.

And the video is popular around the world.

It’s the No.1 1 News & Politics video this month in Sweden.

In News & Politics, it’s No. 2 in Canada and the United Kingdom, and in Australia and Ireland, it’s No. 3.

It’s in the top 10 in India, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa and France. Although not as popular in Russia, it’s still ranks No. 105 there and it hasn’t been translated into Russian, as far as I know.

In all, the video gets 46 YouTube honors.

According to the YouTube map, it’s been seen in every country in the world except a couple in central Africa.

Through yesterday, the daily number of viewers has continued to steadily grow. The YouTube page has gotten more than 27,000 comments. Of the 2 million views, only 525 clicked dislike before leaving the page.

—  David Taffet

Derry, Northern Ireland holds first pride parade

Way cool.


—  John Wright

Advice to Catholic Church on treatment of gays: Glass houses


Is it me or does the Catholic Church have no business doing any criticizing of the LGBT community? Here are some headlines I found today:

The BBC reports today that during the past decade, “the Holy Office received details of 3,000 Catholic priests reported by their Bishops to Rome for sexual misconduct or, even worse, crimes.”

The Vatican minimizes the importance by saying that only 10 percent of these cases, or 300 priests, involve pediophelia.


Sex scandal embroils Catholic Church in Brazil

Three priests being investigated.


Irish Cardinal Apologizes for Sex Abuse Scandal

This scandal involves abuse of as many as 15,000 children, according to an AP report.


Pope meets with German bishop amid sex scandal

From various German Catholic schools and an all-boys choir once led by the pope’s brother, 170 former students from  have come forward.


Vienna Boys Choir admits possible sexual abuses

Abuse of boys ages 10 to 14 goes back decades and involves priests, although the chior is not offically affiliated with the church.

That’s just from today’s news.

Yet, when Mexico City began allowing same-sex couples to marry last week, where did the biggest criticism come from? The Catholic Church.

When Washington, D.C. insisted that agencies funded by the government treat all couples married in that city equally, where did the loudest protests come from? The Catholic Church.

As Vera Carp said, “Glass houses.”

For more news about religion and how if affects the LGBT community, see tomorrow’s Spirituality section of the Dallas gamesпоисковое продвижение дешево

—  David Taffet

Erin go gay

20557 Rainbow Shamrock

As we Americans once again try to get over the pain of another loss in the gay marriage battle (the New York Senate defeated a marriage bill there this week that had already been passed in the Assembly and that the governor was waiting anxiously to sign into law), word comes from across the Big Pond that lawmakers in Ireland this week opened debate on a bill to grant marriage-style rights to same-sex couples there.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said today that the Civil Partnerships Bill would give same-sex couples the same rights as married straight couples in matters of inheritance, medical care and medical decisions and access to state benefits. The bill would also allow one partner to demand financial support from the other in the event of a break up.

There are some lawmakers in the ruling Fianna Fail party who are expected to oppose the Civil Partnerships Bill, but strong support in the opposition parties is expected to insure the measure’s passage sometime this month.

That’s really something when you consider that the Roman Catholic Church — which has been a major force in managing to slap down marriage equality here in the States — is a strong presence in Ireland, not to mention that homosexuality was a criminal offense on the Emerald Isle until 1993.
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—  admin