Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ireland. Show all posts

November 23, 2015

Gay Irish Crossing to the South of Ireland to get Married



The North is now the only region in the UK and Ireland not to extend civil marriage rights to same sex couples so many are now choosing to cross the Border to get married.

At Stormont last month, a motion in support of marriage equality received a slim majority in favor for the first time but the move was only symbolic as it vetoed by the DUP using a petition of concern blocking mechanism.

Following Ireland’s historic Yes vote in May the campaign for marriage equality in the North is gaining momentum and is being challenged in the courts.
Labour Senator Mairia Cahill with Labour leader Joan Burton. A party sources said “we believe we will be back in government”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish TimesTop Labour Party figures warn party could lose 20 seats

Princess Anne speaks with jockey AP McCoy after she officially opened the Princess Royal Grandstand during day one of The Open at Cheltenham raceourse, Cheltenham. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA WireMiriam Lord’s Week: Irish lads keep it cool in royal presence
Photograph: Matt KavanaghA very Panti Christmas: Rory O’Neill makes merry with family, Roses and a good film

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson speaks about his decision to step down at Stormont Castle, November 19th, 2015. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire Belfast locals give views on Peter Robinson stepping down

Despite civil marriages carried out in the south only being recognised as civil partnerships in the North, gay and lesbian couples are choosing to tie the knot over the Border anyway.
Donal Murray (32), a nurse practitioner and John Campbell (30), a hotel supervisor met more than five years ago during Belfast Pride festivities.
Their wedding is due to take place in Ballymagarvey Village, Balrath, Co Meath on July 24th next year.
The couple were to have a civil partnership, but following the Yes vote in the referendum they immediately decided to opt for civil marriage instead.
“When the referendum was a success then it just reaffirmed to both John and I that having our wedding in the south was going to be even more special and significant as we would be legally married in the south.”

Murray added that he and Campbell “firmly support equality for the LGBT community and hope that in time the North will change in line with the rest of the UK and Ireland”.
They will be joining the growing list of couples from the North to opt for a civil marriage ceremony across the Border.

Darren and Tony Day for east Belfast were among the first couples to get married last week after the Marriage Act 2015 was signed into law.
Tony (38) a publisher, originally from Lisburn and Darren (42) a musician and teacher, originally from Newtownabbey, have been been together for more than six years after meeting online.
Their wedding was held in Co Monaghan on Saturday and their marriage was legally recognized on Tuesday when a short ceremony made it official.

“We didn’t originally decide to get married in the south,” said Tony.
“Originally we planned on having a civil partnership in Belfast on Thursday but when the choice arose to wait a couple of days after our big day to actually get married we decided that was a better option.
“Purely so that when it does eventually become recognised in NI, we don’t have to upgrade from a civil partnership to a marriage.”
Civil marriage

Day’s ex-wife Sabrina was one of his “grooms maid”, their daughter India (14) did a reading at the service and son Parker (7) walked Tony and Darren down the aisle.
“It was a disappointing that literally an hour after we were married and travelled back to NI, our marriage was no longer recognized as such,” he added.

Belfast solicitor Ciarán Moynagh says couples will avail of civil marriage across the Border, despite it not being recorded as such in the North.
“The progressive movement in the south is hugely positive and really puts the focus on the North of Ireland. It shows that our position is unsustainable,” he said.

He added: “Under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 section 215 downgrades an ‘overseas relationship’ to civil partnerships. Obviously this marriage is not overseas but this provision applies as it has been formed outside the United Kingdom. We have even more difficulties when it comes to looking at Scotland. I am not sure the Government when drafting the Civil Partnership Act 2004 ever envisaged this unique issue and I have been approached by couples seeking advice on their status in the North.”
The case of a couple Ciarán Moynagh represents, challenging the conversion of a same-sex marriage in London to a civil partnership in Belfast, is ongoing before the High Court and is listed for two further days of hearing at the start of December.

John O’Doherty, director of the Belfast-based Rainbow Project, said with “equal marriage now a reality across these islands there will be an increasing number of married same sex couples living in Northern Ireland who are not recognised”.
“This further reflects the irrationality of the illogical patchwork of marriage laws across the UK and Ireland.

“The idea that a marriage can be recognised in some parts of the UK and not others has no basis in law and is directly discriminatory towards legally married couples residing in Northern Ireland.
“Unfortunately the Northern Ireland Assembly has proven itself incapable of dealing with this inequality so same sex couples have had to turn to the courts.

“We know that a majority of both people and politicians in Northern Ireland support the introduction of equal marriage so it is only a matter of time before it becomes reality.”

October 30, 2015

Ireland Signs Same Sex Marriage into Law


Same-sex marriage was signed into law in Ireland, five months after a historic referendum saw the traditionally Catholic nation become the world's first country to vote for gay unions.

"The Presidential Commission today signed the 'Marriage Bill 2015' into law," the president's office said in a statement, paving the way for the first weddings within a month.

Ireland voted 62.1 percent in favour of allowing marriage between two people "without distinction as to their sex" in May, the first time anywhere that gay marriage has been legalised in a referendum.

The president's endorsement was the final hurdle for the bill after legal challenges briefly delayed the legislation from coming into effect.

The first ceremonies should be possible by mid-November, according to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Senator Katherine Zappone, who had long campaigned for her Canadian marriage to her wife to be recognised in Ireland, called it "a defining moment".
"It is a deeply emotional moment for those of us who have campaigned for so long," Zappone said in a statement.
 Irish Statue of Liberty
"This victory truly belongs to the nation, it is a moment for us all."

In a memorable moment that unfolded live on national television after the referendum result was announced, Zappone proposed to her wife Ann Louise Gilligan to re-marry her under Irish law.

International gay rights campaigners congratulated efforts by Irish activists to win public support for a "Yes" vote in the referendum.

"Tribute must also be paid to national politicians in Ireland, as all the main political parties put aside their partisan differences to campaign for the greater goal of equality," Evelyne Paradis of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association said in a statement.

Marriages between same sex couples that took place outside of Ireland will now be recognised under Irish law.

Couples already in civil partnerships, which were introduced in Ireland in 2011, will be able to marry within weeks.

May's referendum generated a lively, and at times divisive, debate in Ireland, which only decriminalised homosexual acts in 1993.

"The referendum confirmed that Irish people want a society that embraces diversity while valuing the family and marriage," Fitzgerald said last week, as the bill passed through the upper house of parliament.

"On 22 May 2015, the people of Ireland showed the scale of their ambition for our society."

President Michael D Higgins is on a visit to the United States, so in his place the bill was signed by senior delegates of the Presidential Commission.

May 24, 2015

Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein:“There are 2 Irelands, an elite Ireland/hidden Ireland Today the hidden Ireland spoke.”

People wait for final results at Trans Union Square, Dublin

My pre viols article came from Dublin, this one is from New York City the second reland. For this I used the New York Times:

“Today Ireland made history,” Prime Minister Enda Kenny said at a news conference, adding that “in the privacy of the ballot box, the people made a public statement.”

“This decision makes every citizen equal and I believe it will strengthen the institution of marriage,” Mr. Kenny said.

The vote is also the latest chapter in a sharpening global cultural clash. Same-sex marriage is surging in the West, legal in 19 nations before the Irish vote and 37 American states, but almost always because of legislative or legal action. At the same time, homosexuality is illegal across much of the Middle East and gay rights are under renewed attack in Russia and parts of Africa.

The results showed wide and deep support for a measure that had dominated public discourse and dinner-table conversation in the months before the vote on Friday. Supporters celebrated in gatherings and on the streets, with the rainbow colors of the gay rights movement and Yes vote buttons conspicuously on display.

Surprising many who had predicted a generational divide, the support cut across age and gender, geography and income, early results showed.

With early vote counts suggesting a comfortable victory, crowds began to fill the courtyard of Dublin Castle, a government complex that was once the center of British rule. By late morning, the leader of the opposition, David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, conceded the outcome on Twitter: “Congratulations to the Yes side. Well done.”

For older activists, the moment marked a profound evolution for their country. For the world, it suggested how far the gay rights movement has come, to make such a significant step in a country with a storied history as a religious stronghold.

“Throughout my youth, adolescence and young adulthood, it was a criminal offense to be gay,” said David Norris, a 70-year-old Irish senator and longtime activist.
“There was silence on the subject,” he said. “It wasn’t mentioned in the newspapers, it wasn’t mentioned in the broadcast media. Then there was a fear of criminal prosecution, of being involuntarily placed in a lunatic asylum, losing your job, being socially destroyed. It was a terrible situation.”

The referendum changes Ireland’s Constitution so that civil marriage between two people is now legal “without distinction as to their sex.” It requires ratification by both houses of the Irish Parliament and the president. Though that is a formality, the date when gay and lesbian couples can marry will be determined in that process.

There was support for the measure across the political spectrum, including from Prime Minister Kenny, of the center-right Fine Gael party, and his Labour coalition partner, which had pushed for the referendum. Sinn Fein, an opposition party, also expressed support.

Many placed the results in a national context, saying it pointed not only to change but also to the compassion and tolerance of the Irish people.

Alex White, the government’s minister for communications, said: “This didn’t change Ireland — it confirmed the change. We can no longer be regarded as the authoritarian state we once might have been perceived to be. This marks the true separation of church and state.”

Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, said: “There are two Irelands, the elite Ireland and the hidden Ireland. And today the hidden Ireland spoke.”

Gay rights activists around the world had said a victory would be an important milestone.

“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,” said Ty Cobb, the international director of the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Late in the campaign, four Catholic bishops urged parishioners to vote against the measure. But as ballot boxes were opened one by one, and paper yes and no votes stacked up in front of counters at long tables in a cavernous hall, optimism among referendum supporters grew. 

Campaigning on both sides of the debate had been underway for months, with posters, billboards and commercials. One opposition commercial said, “You should be able to have reservations about gay marriage without being called a homophobe,” while a commercial supporting same-sex marriage featured young people encouraging their parents to vote.

Thousands are believed to have returned to Ireland to take part in the vote; plane tickets from London Friday night sold out.

Ireland’s paradigm shift from a quasi-theocracy to a leader on gay rights was the result of a sustained campaign by gay activists. They set up a network of support groups around the country and fused a grass-roots movement with aggressive social media outreach and a registration drive that brought in more than 100,000 new voters since last November. Tens of thousands of doors were knocked on, extensive leafleting campaigns took place and posters were ubiquitous. 

“Commentators just don’t seem to have grasped that this has been the culmination of a 10-year campaign to change attitudes in this country,” said Colm O’Gorman, chief executive of Amnesty International (Ireland) and a leading gay rights campaigner.

Leaders on both sides tried to strike a conciliatory note, though they said some issues remain to be sorted out, from rules on surrogacy to the ability of religious groups to hew to their views.

“The personal stories of people’s own testimonies, as to their difficulties growing up being gay certainly struck a chord with people,” said Jim Walsh, an Irish senator who opposed the marriage referendum, during a television interview.

“I would like today to not get back into the arguments that we had during the campaign but to wish them well,” he said. “But I think that going forward we will need to address issues which are going to arise.”

In a news release, the Iona Institute congratulated the yes side for “a very professional campaign that in truth began long before the official campaign started.”

But it also said “we will continue to affirm the importance of the biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood” and urged the government to “address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”




May 23, 2015

Massive Amounts of the Irish came, voted for and win Irish Gay Marriage today!

  The Irish Win!                                                                             Justice and Equality win in                                                                                                    

This is the way it’s being reported in Ireland by the Irish Times. I thought you  might want to hear it from the people there:

Ireland has officially passed the same-sex marraige referendum with 1.2 million people voting in its favour. The result was confirmed just before 7pm with the final three Cork constituencies counted. The Yes vote prevailed by 62 to 38 per cent with a 60.5 per cent turnout.
In total, 1,201,607 people voted in favour with 734,300 against, giving a majority of 467,307. The total valid poll was 1,935,907. Roscommon-South Leitrim was the only county to reject same-sex marriage. The No vote there finished with 51.4 per cent.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said: “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.” File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times Diarmuid Martin: Catholic Church needs reality check
On Friday, Ireland stopped being afraid of itself. The No campaign was all about fear — the fear that change could have only one vehicle (the handcart) and one destination (hell). And this time, it didn’t work.
Donegal, against some expectations, approved the amendment to the Constitution by a small margin. Donegal South West was on a razor edge with 50.1 per cent voting Yes, representing a margin of just 33 votes.
The Yes vote in Dublin was particularly pronounced. Dublin Midwest recorded a Yes vote of 70.9 per cent, Dublin Southwest returned 71.3 per cent, Dun Laoghaire 71.6 per cent, Dublin Northwest 70.6 per cent and Dublin South Central 72.3 per cent, all in keeping with the overall 70 per cent positive vote anticipated in the capital. As the result emerged on Saturday afternoon thousands of people gathered, against convention, in the courtyard of Dublin Castle among scenes of widespread jubilation.

Senior politicians welcomed the result with Minister for Health Leo Varadkar saying the overwhelming Yes vote makes Ireland a “beacon of light” for the rest of the world in terms of liberty and equality.

“It’s a historical day for Ireland,” he told RTÉ, a “social revolution” adding that had any constituencies voted No, it would only have been a handful. In the end there was just one.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said it was now time to focus on other myriad inequalities in Irish society.

“I have the strong belief - there is a strong belief in the church - about the nature of marriage and the family,” he said, after the result was beyond dispute.
“I would like to have seen that the rights of gay and lesbian men and women could have been respected without changing the definition of marriage. That hasn’t happened but that is the world we live in today.”

The eyes of the world too have been trained on Ireland as much of its population hoped to carry the first popular vote on same-sex marriage. The story featured prominently in international media throughout Saturday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the referendum turn-out showed the “palpable movement” of people wanting to be involved.

He particularly noted how young people had travelled around the country to “to put a single mark” on a ballot paper, demonstrating the value of the issue at hand.

Paul Moran of Millward Brown told RTÉ voter turnout had proved vital and that youth had driven the result, if not entirely deciding it. Social media has played a central role, he said.
No campaigners congratulated the Yes side. Prominent No campaigner and director of the Iona Institute David Quinn seemed to concede the vote shortly after counting began when he tweeted: “Congratulations to the Yes site. Well done.”
The Iona Institute issued a statement congratulating the Yes side “on their win” which they described as “a handsome victory”.

“We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience,” it concluded.
No campaigner Senator Ronan Mullen said he was not surprised by the seemingly “very substantial majority” in the Yes vote but remains concerned about changes to the Constitution and its negative impacts.

Nobody in the No campaign thought it was going to be easy, he said.
“We are operating in a political time and place in Irish culture”, up against a very skilled Yes campaign which had the support of all political parties.
Senator Fidelma Healy Eames who also campaigned for a No vote said the referendum “for me was never anti-gay”. She said she had switched her vote from Yes to No simply because of her concerns around Constitutional change and its effect on a child’s birthright.

The No advocacy group Mothers and Fathers Matter expressed “warm congratulations” to the Yes side but said that one in three Irish people - the vote ratio - were not represented by the political establishment.

Yes campaigner and Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power said gay campaigners who told their stories on the doorsteps of voters had “helped to change Ireland for all of us” not just the gay community.
She said she had seen many of them reduced to tears by the experience they had during the campaign. For them, it was often “an incredibly difficult thing to do”.

Senator David Norris, who fought from the 1970s to 1993 to have homosexuality decriminalised, welcomed the result. “I believe that by the end of today gay people will be equal in this country. I think it’s wonderful,” he said.

Minister for Children James Reilly said while the same-sex marriage referendum yes vote is strong in Dublin, it is also strong around the country. He says a lot of voters have been thinking about their grandchildren and giving them the same opportunities in life should they be gay.
US vice president Joe Biden tweeted: “We welcome Ireland’s support for equality #LoveWins.”
As with the last referendum, media facilities were made available at Dublin Castle and a large international contingent was in attendance.

Following calls from politicians and members of the public on Friday Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW Simon Harris announced that Dublin Castle would also be open to 2,000 members of the public.

May 21, 2015

Ireland on the Edge of Legalizing Gay Marriage-Catholics Soul Search

- Barely a generation ago, Ireland outlawed homosexual acts and gays often faced a stark choice between leading secret lives or emigrating to more liberal lands. This week, in the world's first national referendum on the matter, the Irish could vote to legalize same-sex marriage.
The campaign ahead of Friday's constitutional referendum has featured searing testimonies designed to make the voters of this predominantly Roman Catholic nation look in the mirror. Members of many of Ireland's most prominent families have come out of the closet in hopes of challenging their neighbors' attitudes to homosexuality. The contest has pit the waning power of the Catholic Church against the secular-minded government of Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
"A yes vote costs the rest of us nothing. A no vote costs our gay children everything," former President Mary McAleese said at a gay rights event in Dublin this week after her only son, a 30-year-old airline executive, revealed he is gay. McAleese, a canon scholar and former legal adviser to the church, spoke of her son's experience of bullying and isolation as a teenager, and of friends who learned that their own sons were gay only when they tried to kill themselves.
The government's campaign effectively began in January with a 36-year-old Cabinet minister, Leo Varadkar, declaring his homosexuality so that he could campaign for a "yes" vote from a position of honesty. The public confessional has been busy ever since, with a stream of entertainers, sports stars and political and business leaders offering their tales of learning that a close friend or family member was gay - but had kept their true identity secret to avoid social intimidation.
"For too long now, people haven't been able to be true to themselves," said Conor Cusack, who is one of the few openly gay athletes in Ireland's native Gaelic sports scene. In radio and TV debates, Cusack has challenged the views of other well-known sportsmen who say they'll vote no.
"Emotionally, I have been in a prison since the age of 17; a prison where I lived a half-life, repressing an essential part of my humanity, the expression of my deepest self; my instinct to love," wrote Ursula Halligan, one of Ireland's best known political correspondents. She came out as a lesbian this month at age 54.
"At every turn society assumes and confirms heterosexuality as the norm. This culminates in marriage when the happy couple is showered with an outpouring of overwhelming social approval. For me, there was no first kiss; no engagement party; no wedding," she wrote. "And up until a short time ago, no hope of any of these things."
Gay marriage is legal in 19 countries, including Britain and most of the United States. But with the exception of three U.S. states, the measure has been enacted solely by lawmakers, not in referendums.
Ireland is holding a nationwide vote because of its conservative 1937 constitution written by then-Prime Minister Eamon de Valera in collaboration with Catholic church leaders. Its family section proclaims inalienable rights for married couples, but doesn't specify that a marriage must be between a man and a woman - an omission that reflects the age's dominance of Catholic teaching and the traditional invisibility of gays in public life.
While some politicians called for the government to legislate directly for gay marriage, Kenny's attorney general advised that, as with all social issues detailed in De Valera's overarching constitution, any changes in law would have to be approved by referendum and formally added to the constitution, lest it be legally challenged as unconstitutional.
Ireland's previous government in 2010 did legalize civil partnerships for gay couples, resolving problems involving property ownership, pensions, tax benefits and other financial matters. But a constitutional reform commission in 2013 recommended legalization of full-fledged marriage for gays, citing more than 150 shortcomings with civil partnerships, and Kenny backed the recommendation.
His government's proposed amendment to permit marriages of "two persons without distinction as to their sex" requires a simple majority of referendum votes to become law.
While opinion polls have consistently shown that most voters support the change, the "yes" side's lead has narrowed this month as religiously conservative campaigners raise fears that gay marriage could endanger children.
"No" campaigners have plastered lamp posts with posters arguing that civil partnerships should be good enough for gays. Other ads warn that unregulated surrogate pregnancies would flourish in a more gay-friendly Ireland, and judges could order children to be seized from single mothers and handed over to adoptive gay couples.
"A mother's love is irreplaceable, vote NO," advises one placard depicting a red-haired boy hugging his mom. "Two men can't replace a mother's love," advises another poster produced, with a tinge of irony, by a pressure group called Mothers and Fathers Matter.
Ireland's independent Referendum Commission, tasked with providing objective information for both sides of every referendum question, has rejected the "no" camp's claims on child endangerment issues as nonsense. It notes that under existing law, gay couples already have the ability to adopt and have children through in-vitro fertilization or surrogacy arrangements.
Another ubiquitous "no" campaign poster, portraying a heterosexual couple kissing a baby on each cheek under the message "Children Deserve a Mother and a Father, Vote No," caused some embarrassment to Mothers and Fathers Matter when it was revealed that the baby-kissing picture came from a stock photo agency - and the real-life British couple protested that their family portrait shouldn't be used to promote anti-gay bigotry.
"This family believes that everyone has a right to marry the person they love regardless of their gender ... and this family would vote 'yes'," the couple said in a statement distributed by Amnesty International, which is campaigning for gay marriage.
The Catholic Church, its authority weakened by declining Mass attendance and two decades of child abuse cover-up scandals, still casts a long shadow in Ireland, particularly in schools and in the rural west of Ireland, where polls indicate anti-gay marriage sentiment runs highest. Priests this weekend read out bishops' pastoral letters from the pulpit asking worshippers to reject the proposed amendment.
In a joint statement, Ireland's bishops said the measure would place "the union of two men, or two women, on a par with the marriage relationship between a husband and wife which is open to the procreation of children."
Failure to stop this, the bishops forecast, would mean it becomes "increasingly difficult to speak any longer in public about marriage as being between a man and a woman. What will we be expected to teach children in school about marriage? Will those who sincerely continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman be forced to act against their conscience?"
But even within the church, some priests and nuns have said their leaders are wrong, and they'll vote yes. Dublin's politically savvy archbishop, Diarmuid Martin, has offered a more nuanced defense of traditional marriage. He says the faithful should examine their own consciences when casting their ballots Friday.
"I know that the severity with which the Irish church treated gay and lesbian people in the past, and in some cases still today, makes it difficult for some to understand the church's position," Martin said.
Catholic Church letter on referendum,
YesEquality campaign,
Mothers and Fathers Matter,
Ireland's Referendum Commission,

March 13, 2015

Irish Senator E.Coghlan Talks about coming to Terms with a Gay Son


Fine Gael Senator Eamonn Coghlan has spoken about the difficulties faced by his son as a gay teenager, and of his own challenge in coming to terms with his son being gay. 
“When I discovered my son Michael was gay I was devastated. I cried for weeks. The hopes and dreams I had for my son were shattered. I felt guilty, almost as if I was to blame for him being gay,” he said. 
The former world champion athlete was speaking at a public information meeting about the forthcoming Marriage Equality Referendum organised by the Fine Gael LGBT group where he called for a yes vote on May 22nd.
“I tried to cover up my disappointment. While I hugged him, told him I loved him, I had to come to terms that, it was not about me but, about him and his life ahead.”
Coghlan said his son experienced bullying at school but didn’t know why it was happening at the time 
Michael Coghlan
“At the time we didn’t know why this was happening but after he came out it became apparent that it was because he was gay. He had also suffered from terrible stomach problems as a teen which we could never get diagnosed. 
“It transpired that this was all anxiety related because of the struggle he had with knowing he was gay and the bullying he was being subjected to.”
Coghlan told the meeting how he came to terms with Michael being gay: “The big breakthrough for me was when some of Michael’s gay friends joined us on a family holiday in Spain. I got to know them and see how happy he was with his mates.”
He said the homophobic abuse Michael experienced didn’t stop after he came out as a gay man and he was subjected to two violent attacks in Dublin. 
“It is clear to me as a parent of a gay child that the marriage equality Referendum is about voting for real people and their lives. 
“It is not about politics or about voting for a particular party. It is about equality, removing rejection, removing exclusion, removing the guilt, shame and fear that gay people experience. 
“We have to think of the person, their dignity, their validation, their human freedom to love and to live life to the full.”
“I was lucky enough to marry the woman of my dreams. Who are we as a nation to deny our sons and daughters the basic right of marrying the person they love?” he said.
Aine McMahon

February 26, 2015

Homosexuality Causes Cancer in Ireland


             Jordi Murphy Irish rugby player


An Irish family campaigning group has launched a series of extraordinary attacks against same-sex couples, including claims that same-sex couples die younger, are more prone to cancer, and are more likely to abuse and injure children, 
The Alliance for the Defence of the Family and Marriage (ADFAM), an initiative based in Ireland which claims to “promote and defend the traditional family”, have been distributing the leaflets to spread their beliefs this week. Witnesses say they have been handed out outside churches and rugby matches among other venues. A journalist for the Irish website Her was handed one of the pamphlets outside a Divine Mercy event in Dublin. It comes in the run-up to the Irish Republic’s referendum in on same-sex marriage due to take place on May 22. 
ADFAM have defended the pamphlet, which is titled ‘Why Should I Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage?’ and have listed reasons why readers should vote against the marriage equality referendum.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Séamas de Barra a member of the alliance said the claims are backed up by research undertaken in Denmark, where civil partnerships were legalised in 1989.
The group also defends its claim that same-sex marriage “is a confidence trick” which “tends to be very short-lived, and promiscuous” and that “frequently, same-sex pairs don’t even live together.”
In the past the group has stated that voting for same-sex marriage “is like voting for Islamic State-style sharia law. It is giving in to a very small minority. In this case, the very small minority will dictate what marriage means. Persecution of Christians surely will follow, and it will become a crime to teach and preach Christian morality.”
Tiernan Brady, policy director at the Irish Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), fiercely condemns the pamphlet’s content. “Most importantly, it’s not true,” he says. “It's disrespectful, and an attack on the humanity of certain citizens of Ireland.
“Unfortunately there are those who will take us back to a time of intolerance. ADFAM don’t seem to care that the referendum is a vote about real people and real people’s rights. Lesbian and gay people will read that pamphlet, and the intent can be nothing other than to do as much damage to people. Their motivation is dark, dangerous and disgraceful. We have to remain positive.”
While Brady says that pamphlets like these are “poisonous” and believes they will increase in the run up to the referendum, he also thinks that the anti-gay sentiments expressed are “out of tune” with Irish popular opinion. Currently, the polls are showing that 77% are in favour of same-sex marriage and all the political parties support it. 
However, Brady added that is is “desperately worrying” that there has been no official condemnation from a number of religious organisations and believes that if the Irish church were to openly condemn the pamphlets it would be a powerful move. “The polls are positive, but that doesn’t mean we should become complacent,” Brady added. 
“Ireland has been a phenomenal success story in recent years, from the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual activity in 1993, to a referendum on equal marriage in just over 20 years. But this leaflet is an attempt to turn the clock back to a time when gays and lesbians lived in the shadows.”
Same-sex couples have been able to enter into a civil partnership in the Republic of Ireland since January 2011, but Ireland does not permit same-sex civil marriage. Taoiseach Enda Kenny announced last Thursday that his party Fine Gael, will support the referendum, declaring that Ireland is a “compassionate and tolerant nation”. Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail both announced last month they too will support the referendum.
But the Catholic church in Ireland is campaigning against the introduction of same-sex marriage. Last December, Ireland’s Catholic bishops launched a 15-page pamphlet setting out its position, stating it would be “a grave injustice” if gay and lesbian couples were granted equality in marriage.

January 9, 2015

Judge in Ireland Rules the gay men blood plan, is gay biased and Irrational


Ruling strengthens October 2013 finding that ban on gay men donating blood is irrational 

Edwin Poots:  the former health minister has launched an appeal against the irrationality finding against him. Photograph: Kevin Boyes
Edwin Poots: the former health minister has launched an appeal against the irrationality finding against him. Photograph: Kevin Boyes
Former Stormont health minister Edwin Poots’ ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland was infected by apparent bias, a High Court judge ruled yesterday. Mr Justice Treacy also held there had been a “very troubling lack of candour” and attempt by the Democratic Unionist MLA to conceal the fact he had taken a decision to maintain the lifetime prohibition. 
He also backed claims by lawyers for a homosexual man that Assembly comments showed Mr Poots stance was influenced by his Christian beliefs. 
The verdict strengthens a previous finding in October 2013 that the ban is irrational. At that time the judge had reached no conclusion on allegations that the decision was prejudiced by religious views. 
Before leaving office Mr Poots launched an appeal against the irrationality finding against him. British health secretary Jeremy Hunt is also contesting the ruling. With the appeal hearing due to get under way later this month, Mr Justice Treacy was asked to make a further determination on the claims of apparent bias. 
The gay blood ban, put in place during the 1980s AIDS threat, was lifted in EnglandScotland and Wales in November 2011. It was replaced by new rules which allow blood from men whose last sexual contact with another man was more than a year ago. Mr Poots however maintained the prohibition in Northern Ireland on the basis of ensuring public safety. 
In his earlier verdict Mr Justice Treacy found the decision was irrational and declared Mr Poots in breach of the ministerial code by failing to take the issue before the Stormont Executive. 
Counsel for the former minister has consistently rejected claims that his position may have been influenced by religious views, but lawyers for the gay man who brought the challenge, identified only as JR65, introduced remarks Mr Poots made in the Assembly while allegedly talking about the case to support their claims of suspected bias. 
The DUP MLA was recorded as saying: “There is a continual battering of Christian principles, and I have to say this – shame on the courts, for going down the route of constantly attacking Christian principles, Christian ethics and Christian morals, on which this society was based and which have given us a very good foundation.” 
Mr Justice Treacy questioned why he would be making such comments if his decision was based only on health grounds. 
“If health was, as the minister claimed, the sole basis underpinning the impugned decision, no question of any assault on Christian principles or morals could conceivably arise,” he said. “Such a criticism could only make any sense if the minister regarded his challenged decision as a manifestation of expression of his religious beliefs.” 
The judge also cited Mr Poots previous opposition to gay rights legislation and a news article from 2001 where he spoke of the rights of those receiving donations to know they are getting “clean blood” uncontaminated by the HIV virus. 
Setting out further reasons for his finding, Mr Justice Treacy pointed out how the minister took his decision against the advice of senior officials and without consulting the Assembly health committee or other interested parties. Mr Poots’s initial denial that he had taken a decision on the issue was rejected. 
The judge said: “The Minister’s very troubling lack of candor and his attempt to conceal the fact that he had made a decision are plainly circumstances that are material to whether a fair-minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility of bias.”
Alan Erwin

November 17, 2014

Colin Farrell comes out with his Gay Brother to fight the Homophobia he has experienced

Colin Farrell is fighting a fight in Ireland but with nothing other than words and his gay brother. He is fighting for gay marriage in Ireland and to fight the homophobia that is stopping it. What a good bro! Not too many people are blessed with a straight brother that would stop his successful life and say I want to fight for my gay brother. It seems that unlike families that really have no idea how their siblings suffer from homophobia and the everyday life of a gay person. I thought that only another gay person could know this but Colin is showing that if you take interest on your brother, sister son or daughter you can come to the point of Colin who seems to know what his brother is and what he goes through and have been through. Here Here for Collin!      Adam Gonzalez

Colin Farrell has written a heartfelt op-ed for the Sunday World, a paper in Ireland, in which he pleads for readers to vote for same sex marriage rights. The actor, born and raised in Dublin, candidly and intimately opens up about his gay brother, Eamon, and his sibling’s awful experiences with homophobia growing up in the Irish country.
Farrell writes, “I think I found out my brother wasn’t grovelling in heterosexual mud like most boys our age when I was around 12. I remember feeling surprised. Intrigued. Curious. Not bi-curious before you start getting ideas. I was curious because it was different from anything I’d known or heard of and yet it didn’t seem unnatural to me. I had no reference for the existence of homosexuality. I had seen, by that age, no gay couples together. I just knew my brother liked men and, I repeat, it didn’t seem unnatural to me.”
“My brother Eamon didn’t choose to be gay. Yes, he chose to wear eyeliner to school and that probably wasn’t the most pragmatic response to the daily torture he experienced at the hands of school bullies,” says the actor. “But he was always proud of who he was. Proud and defiant and, of course, provocative. Even when others were casting him out with fists and ridicule and the laughter of pure loathsome derision, he maintained an integrity and dignity that flew in the face of the cruelty that befell him.”
Farrell notes, “I don’t know where those bullies are now, the ones who beat him regularly. Maybe some of them have found peace and would rather forget their own part of a painful past. Maybe they’re sitting on bar stools and talking about ‘birds and f*ggots’ and why one’s the cure and the other the disease.” He goes on, “But I do know where my brother is. He’s at home in Dublin living in peace and love with his husband of some years, Steven. They are about the healthiest and happiest couple I know. They had to travel a little farther than down the aisle to make their vows, though, to Canada, where their marriage was celebrated.”
“That’s why this is personal to me. The fact that my brother had to leave Ireland to have his dream of being married become real is insane. INSANE,” writes Farrell. “It’s time to right the scales of justice here. To sign up and register to vote next year so that each individual’s voice can be heard.”
Farrell further points out, “How often do we get to make history in our lives? Not just personal history. Familial. Social. Communal. Global. The world will be watching. We will lead by example. Let’s lead toward light.” The full piece appears in the Sunday World print edition. Farrell is pictured above with Eamon in 2003. What do you think of his column?
Shari Weiss

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