I’ve been listening to the media and the debate on Irish radio and TV for what has felt like an eternity on the Marriage referendum. Safe to say I’ve been typically pissed off with the arguments against and sometimes for as well. In a nutshell, it appears to me there is a fundamental mistake as to what is being voted on. So here it is, my reasoning on why you should consider voting YES.
Our constitution is our supreme legal document (Save and except for EU things). All laws must be constructed and construed with consideration to it.
A government creates laws; all laws they create must adhere to the constitution. Governments come and go, but love it or loath it, our constitution stays. It should breadth and reflects the times of the society it represents, but this is sadly not always true.
The current constitution references marriage as between a man and a woman. Therefore, any legal interpretation of marriage stemming from this, means man and woman. Thus this is the crux of the problem.
The much-advertised Civil Partnership laws are exactly that, laws created by our government for the people of the day. It is on the same par as say, the Irish Water Bills, the Litter Bill, Public Order Bills etc. This means, that any government in the future be they right or left leaning is free to amend or repeal the Civil Partnership laws without reference to you the voter. As we have seen throughout the term of this government, it’s very possible to push through laws even if there is a lack of public support. Why, well because they have a majority in the Dail, so if all the TD’s say so, it becomes law.
Now, I don’t know about you, but having the prospect of another government come in and change the Civil Partnership laws (Or indeed, decide to nullify them) is not something I think is right. I don’t think a section of our society now, or at sometime in the future should be subject to whims of the government of the day.
Who is to say what could happen, maybe if the laws are slowly chipped away, a bit this year, another two years later, people in these partnerships (Irrespective of preference as the law covers straight and LBGT), could be in a situation where they have less rights than the do now. If you think this would never happen, we can easily look east and see the tide of anti LBGT laws that are sweeping Russia. But we’re not Russia I hear you say. And you are right, however we do know our right conservatives will eventually get more power, so why should they be able to change a law they don’t like without reference to the people.
So when you vote yes, you are telling this government, and future governments, you cannot, and will not enact a law to change marriage without coming back to us, the people. It is really that simple. You stop any left/right government from messing with people’s rights. So it is not just a vote for now, it is also a vote in our countries future. And this has to be forefront in your mind too. Our constitution dates from the 30’s, it may very well survive you, so you have to consider now and the future Ireland when voting.
As for marriage, well, this changes the legal definition of marriage. Not any churches or religions definition of it. But won’t all the gays be wanting a church wedding? Well no, the constitution, the same document, protects the freedom of religion in our country. Marriage in this context is purely a legal instrument here. Yes, it does mean that a married couple irrespective of genders will have the same rights. When this comes to children this is true equally. However there is one important thing, everyone neglects to mention. When there is anything legal over a child, the courts will always take the best interest of a child first and foremost over anyone else’s rights. That’s the way our courts protect children.
So, now I hope you understand, this is a legal question, a question over now, and the future direction of our country. So please, consider your children, or your future children. Do you want to move forward towards an open equal society, one where big decisions are always left in the hands of us, the people of the country? If this is the case, please, do vote Yes.
* Disclosure, even though I pay Irish taxes, and am an Irish citizen by birth, and a passport holder, I am not permitted to vote. As many before me, and many after me, I live in Europe now, but for some reason our government is happy to take my money, but not extend the vote to me. One of only 3 countries in Europe to do so. If I could I’d vote yes, so if you are a No voter, you could do me a favour and vote Yes, so I have my say