Seriously, do I have to say this? Vote YES

I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the converted here. I mean, given the demographic of people I know on social media, I’d say it’s highly unlikely that anyone out there reading this is an Irish person who’s going to vote no in the upcoming referendum.

But you never know. Maybe I need to say it, just in case. Just in case some way I put some words together can make a change somewhere out there. Ripples, ripples.

This Friday, Ireland is voting on same-sex marriage. Ireland, the country where the concept of church-state separation is vague at best, where divorce has only existed since 1996, and where gay sex wasn’t legalised until 1993. We’ve come a long way in a short space of time, but we can do more. We owe it to generations past, and those to come. We owe it to vulnerable teenagers out there right now.

Here are a few points I’d like to make to anyone who might think they have reasons to vote no:

If you think it’s irrelevant to you because you don’t know any gay people, I’m 99.9% sure you’re wrong about that. And even if you’re not, why not just do it anyway, for the sake of happiness? Spread a little love around.

If you think it will lead to gay people getting married in the Catholic church, no, it won’t. It has nothing to do with the Catholic Church’s rules, which stay the way they are. It just means that gay people can be married in the eyes of the law in Ireland. Sure, why not?

If you think it will somehow affect your own marriage, just think about that logically for a second. It won’t make your marriage any less valid. It won’t make anyone have to marry anyone else, gay or not. I’m sure you know that, right?

If you think it will lead to the breakup of the family, I can see that the No campaign has been at you. Children need people who love them. And gay people can already have children and adopt children: this referendum has no bearing on that. This argument is In Valid.

If you think marriage just isn’t that, and that gay people have civil partnerships and that should be enough for them, think again. Marriage may have been defined as between a man and a woman in the past, but we need to move on now that we as a society understand more about real people. We understand that being gay is not a “cool” life choice, it’s not a rebellion, it’s not (god help us) a perversion or an abomination. If you thought you didn’t know any gay people, that’s because it’s something they always felt they had to deny, or at least ignore, in your presence. In society’s presence. Because they felt they were somehow, through no fault of their own, second-class citizens.

So tell them they’re not. Tell them that they get to stand up and shout to the rafters that they love this person and they’re going to marry them, just as loudly as you did (or maybe you whispered it to the stars instead, but you weren’t ashamed of it), because they’re people who get to love and be loved in the light of day.

Their mammies get to buy a hat for the big day out. Don’t deny the mammies that.

11 thoughts on “Seriously, do I have to say this? Vote YES

  1. Laura Molloy

    Agree 100%. I do think it is important to say it as much as possible though, all I seem to hear all week is the no side. They’re everywhere spreading lots of un-truths and mis-representing the facts which at this stage is scare mongering. I really do hope it’s a yes on Friday and if it’s not I will feel truly sad. We need to get more young voters out though, statistically the ones less likely to vote and the ones most likely to vote yes. #VoteYes

  2. Helen O'Keeffe

    oh I do like how you state the ‘oh so bleedin’ obvious’ in your characteristically lovely way.
    I hope, how I hope, we get it right first time round and just make our corner of the world a lovelier place and maybe tell each other that we’re all welcome to come to the wedding dressed as ourselves.

    1. Maud Post author

      Ah, thank you. Though you’ve reminded me that usually if we get it wrong they just make another referendum straight away until the country cops itself on. It’d be nice not to have to go through it all again, though. Fingers crossed.

  3. Pingback: #VoteYes |

  4. Mammyinwonderland

    I just wrote a post on this too. I didn’t up until then because I felt I had nothing to contribute but I feel like the scaremongering is getting louder and louder and eventually I had to post something! Every little helps! I hope that there is something to celebrate on Friday

  5. FlippyO

    You don’t know me, except maybe from a random Julia comment, but I was so happy to see this, and so happy that the YES vote has won. Plus, I was so proud to see one of my “kind of weirdly adopted kids in a way most people won’t understand” be interviewed on HuffPost Live from Ireland regarding getting out the yes vote. I am so sorry about my painful punctuation in my first comment – I am usually much more attentive.

    By the way, what third grader reads for ninety minutes??? I have always been a voracious reader thanks to my mom and my awesome first grade teacher, but I don’t even know if I read comfortably for that long in the third grade.

    1. Maud Post author

      Hi Nancy, and thanks for reading – and commenting! It really is so wonderful that Ireland is leading the way in something like this.

      I agree about the third graders. It’s what you do when you have to, for the test, not what you do on a daily basis. (Of course, the way it worked for my 3rd grader with dyslexia is that his accommodations won him *unlimited time* to do the test – so he was reading, painfully and slowly, for the entire afternoon instead of “just” 90 minutes.

      1. FlippyO

        That’s just cruel to do to third grader with dyslexia. At that age, school is supposed to be fun; and if not fun, then at least not torture.

        By the way, in response to a different post – it’s school now vs then, not the US vs Ireland. I was in elementary school in California in the seventies and we didn’t have any tests that were required nationwide. Oddly enough, we all graduated with all the basic skills regardless. I think that all the teaching to tests ruins school for teachers and kids. Elementary/primary school should give you the basics (reading, writing, math, social skills) and there doesn’t have to be one specific way to teach those basics.

      2. Maud Post author

        SOCIAL SKILLS! So much truth there, and so much something that’s treated like a “nice to have” or a “just shows up along the way” unless you have a good teacher. Not that I have any criticisms of our teachers – just the system that doesn’t give them time or space to teach the way they’d probably like to.

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