Irish voters have decisively voted in favour of marriage equality, making Ireland the first country to do so through the ballot box. Only one of the 43 constituencies voted against the proposal – Roscommon-South Leitrim – while the yes vote exceeded 70% in many parts of Dublin.
There’s something deeply unsettling about putting rights to a vote. They are a fundamental privilege, automatically granted unless they clash with other rights. We rely on experts to establish, interpret, and enforce them. The only time they should be voted on is when a constitution is being created or revised.
This is even more ridiculous in the context of “same-sex marriage.” The extra qualifier on “marriage” reveals it as abnormal, something that isn’t automatic. Yet the only difference between “marriage” and “same-sex marriage ” is the sexual orientation of the people signing the contract. So are we saying someone’s sexual orientation is abnormal, even though it occurs naturally? Or are we saying the sexual orientation they were born with is so important that it makes everything they do
fabulousnoteworthy? Either way, the term sounds equally as bigoted as “mixed-race marriage” to my ears (admittedly, I’m Canadian).
There is, however, one good argument for putting this to a vote.
The no campaigners have paid tribute to their opponents, and the archbishop of Dublin has said the result should be a wake-up call for the Catholic church in Ireland.
Showing the bigots just how little support they have, in a country that was once staunchly Catholic, is worth printing ballots for.