Tomorrow marks a huge day for Ireland. It will be the day that we either make history or reject a constitutional change to allow for same sex marriage. For the past few months we have heard from either side and as the vote date gets closer, the debate has definitely heated up. This is my last minute call to anyone undecided. I believe that anyone who is a firm ‘No’ has been since the beginning and won’t change their opinion. It’s the people who aren’t sure ( or who have listened to the fear mongering coming from the No side recently.) that I want to speak to.
Firstly, voting ‘No’ is not going to put an end to same sex relationships. It’s not going to put an end to same sex couples adopting and it’s definitely not going to put an end to same sex couples holding hands in public, kissing in a club, or anything else that you may not be comfortable with. Please don’t use this referendum as a chance to make a stand against homosexuality.
Secondly, I , like the No side believe that this referendum is about children. However, that’s where the similarities end. While the No campaign want to bury their heads in the sand, put their fingers in their ears, say la la la and pretend that by voting no it will outlaw same sex couples from starting a family, I live in the real world. Children of same sex couples deserve to grow up with their family unit possessing the same rights as heterosexual couples. They deserve the security and the status, and they also deserve to grow up knowing that no matter what their sexual orientation is they are equal to everyone else around them.
Times change, and with every change there is always the fear of the unknown.Generations before us fought for women’s lib. I can avail of birth control , I don’t have to quit my job after I marry and I am not outcast as a harlot for living with my boyfriend thanks to the battles fought and by the generations before us . Now it’s our turn to fight. A ‘YES’ vote will send out the most positive message across the world showing just how caring, accepting and forward Ireland really is.
Finally, I just want to say sorry. Sorry to any of my Gay friends and family for the last few months, which I can only imagine has been a gruelling time. I don’t know what it’s like to see posters declaring me an unfit parent, nor what it’s like to receive hate mail, and face constant opinions on me , my family and my ability to be a family. It’s unfair and I hope that the result on Saturday will make up for the months of awfulness.
For anyone who is is voting , it’s essential to follow the rules. Don’t take selfies in the booth, make sure you have a valid ID ( for safety I’d bring a passport) , bring your polling card ( If you registered late you may not have received a polling card, but don’t fret you are still on the register) no badges or t-shirts with voting slogans and make sure you give yourself enough time to go vote.
So tomorrow I hope you vote YES and make grá the law!
Una O’Boyle, Tabitha Magazine. @unaoboyle