Today Ireland has near unanimously voted to approve marriage for same sex couples. They will be the first country to approve this via popular vote, listening to the residents of the country rather than relying on politicians alone. Reading the tweets associated with the #HomeToVote hashtag yesterday showed the true conviction of the people of Ireland – people flooding home to Ireland to have their say in the matter. It was truly a humbling experience to see the passion of the nation.
At the same time over the past weeks while keeping up the campaigns from both sides, it was disheartening to see some of the reasons the No campaign were using to justify their stance. Rather than focussing on the question at hand – whether same sex couples should have the same right to get married as hetrosexual couples – they focussed on family. That children should have both a mother and father. This devalued many existing families – be they single parents or same sex parents who have adopted. These families are in most cases extremely happy and functional families. Children growing up being loved and showed every care in the world.
What Ireland was voting for was whether same sex couples have the same right to be recognised as hetrosexual couples. To value their love as equal to everyone else, to show and celebrate that love. As Shane Bitney Crone said in his documentary, Bridegroom:
It’s not a gay thing. It’s not a straight thing. It’s a human thing.
We are all human, we all love. The fact some of us choose to love someone of the same sex should not bother or matter to anyone else. The world is not invited to our weddings, only those people who we care about. And they love us for who we are and who we love.
So here’s hoping the world listens to what Ireland has just said. That we are all equal, whoever we love.