The original title of this post was "Why You Should Vote No on May 22nd" - but I've had feedback from some people who felt uncomfortable sharing it because of that title, and others that were annoyed by it. So the message still stands, but I've changed the title of the post.
On May 22nd in Ireland, we're having a Referendum on whether or not LGBT people will be allowed to get married. Here's why you should vote no:
If you will be paying for their weddings from your own personal bank account.
That's it, really.
Otherwise, I implore you to vote yes. I wasn't even going to do a post on this but there's so much I want to say that I get muddled and flustered and annoyed - really annoyed.
I live in a very rural area in the Midlands. LGBT people don't make up a huge percentage of the population, but they are here, and for the most part I have always assumed that they're accepted - that might be incredibly naive of me, going by recent "revelations" from people I thought would know better.
On May 22nd, we are voting on whether or not a woman can marry a woman, or a man can marry a man. That's it. We're not voting on whether they can adopt a child or on their parenting abilities. Every single argument against this vote that I have heard in my locality has mentioned children. One argument included the sentence "but listen to me, if they get rights, they'll want more. They'll want to adopt and it's not right, children need a mother and a father." This was from someone who didn't raise his own children, by the way. I'll be sharing this post on facebook, so if you happen to see this and recognise yourself - tough. Shame on you. SHAME ON YOU.
Considering everyone is so concerned about children and about same sex parenting and traditional parenting - I'll say this. I was born to a married couple, and raised without a father. Two women raised me. My mother and my grandmother. My mother did not make good choices all the time. I had no male influence. I think I turned out alright, if you'll excuse the ego. I may not have gone to University and gotten a degree, and I am a little bit fat, but would a Dad have changed that? I'm not mean, I'm not a racist or a bigot, I'm married, and have three sons now. I think I do a good job with them. I don't get pissed, I don't do drugs, I don't abuse or neglect them. I think I'm a good wife. Being raised by two women didn't mean that I was afraid of men or I didn't know what to do around them or how to deal with them. I've never felt uncomfortable around men. Did I miss out on a Dad? Maybe. But I had a mother, and sometimes I feel like I missed out on a mother.
We are voting on marriage. Only marriage. On whether or not two people should be allowed to stand in front of their family and friends and tell them, and each other, how much they love and care for one another. In a society like the one we live in, so full of hatred and fear, so full of evil and badness, why on earth would you want to be responsible for denying someone of doing that?
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I often look at those wonder kids who can do things like play Mozart on the piano at 4. Or those people who, at aged 22, have done more in their short lifetimes than I've done with a ten year head start. I often think - "I have done nothing in my life worth anything except have my children". If you can identify with that feeling, here's your chance. Change lives. Change the course of history. Stand up and show people that we are not as backward and as ignorant as we are sometimes portrayed. You can be a part of something amazing, something that will lead to true equality - or you can be a part of destruction, pain, prejudice. Unless you are a member of the LGBT community, this isn't going to change anything for you personally. Nobody is going to knock on your front door and declare your marriage invalid or any less important just because others will be given the opportunity to marry. As far as I'm aware, my wedding ring still means something.
Stand up for your future gay sons and lesbian daughters/friends/nieces/grandchildren. Those who feel strongly that the definition of marriage should not be changed have already lost - because it has been changed. Women no longer have to give their jobs up after they marry. More and more women don't take their husbands names. Sometimes (like myself), we have a child first and then live together for a decade and THEN get married. Some people bring children from previous relationships into marriages. It has already changed. THE DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE HAS ALREADY CHANGED.
The people who are against this are really against it, and they will vote No. They will vote no, because they are afraid of change. Some will vote no because they don't understand what they're voting for. Please, please vote Yes on May 22nd and show solidarity with those who just want to be able to get married.
I'm all for balance and hearing both sides on most issues - but I can not wrap my head around the reason for denying two people a marriage. What effect does it have on you? NONE. Absolutely none. Think about it. NONE.
If your argument involves children, firstly go and tell all your childless married friends that their marriages are invalid. Then, think about all the children born to alcoholics, drug addicts, prisoners. Those children are already on the planet. They need help right now. The hypothetical children that some think will be handed out across the hatch at the HSE office along with the marriage certificates do not. If you feel that strongly about the safety and welfare of the children of Ireland, get off your arse and do some volunteer work for Childline, Barnardos, Temple Street, St. Vincent de Paul, or some of the other charities who would be only too grateful of your assistance.
This is your chance to sit back with that smug grin on your face at the end of May and think "I did that. I was part of that. I helped change history." Do the right thing - all you're voting on is whether or not two people who love each other should be allowed to get married. That is it.
Make sure you're registered to vote - check www.checktheregister.ie to find out if you're registered. You still have time to apply for a postal vote - the deadline is April 25th according to the website. Deadline to register for voting at your local polling station is May 5th.
Visit yesequality.ie for more information on the Yes Equality campaign.