This moment is not a gift from Ireland to LGBT community. It’s the other way round. Thanks for making us proud of ourselves again. – Fintan O’Toole.
It is an historic occasion, of course: The first time a country has put the question of gay marriage to a national referendum. But it is a vanishingly tiny event, and yet somehow an enormous, epochal moment. It is not just that the overwhelmingly Catholic Irish voted Tá, Comhionannas – Yes, Equality – it’s that the Yes vote came out of the lace-curtain districts of South Dublin as well as Dublin’s working class districts of Darndale and Ballymun, and it was Tá in my late dad’s hills around Midleton and Glanmire in East Cork and in the old Barony of Upper Tulla in East Clare around my mum’s family’s farm, between Bodyke and Tuamgraney.
My column this week was in anticipation of it. If the Yes side wins on Friday, the great cause that Daniel O’Connell championed will not be betrayed. It will be vindicated. The Emancipation of 1826 will at last count within its embrace those who were “stamped by the Creator with no inferiority,” and yet were set apart even so by Ireland’s 1937 constitution as aliens and outcasts. Tá, comhionannas — Yes, equality — would stand not only as an overdue triumph in the cause of the emancipation of the Catholic Irish. It would stand as well as another small assurance, a tiny bit of hope, that the unjustly treated, everywhere, will one day win.
While I’m at it here’s from my column last week: Well thanks a lot, Alan Borovoy, you noodge. Now of all times you choose to die. Grand old man of Canadian liberty. Scourge of racist bosses, bullying speech codes and the state’s outrages against equality, fair play and decency. Five rough-and-tumble decades of struggle since the days of Africville in Nova Scotia. And just when we needed the moral clarity of your voice the most, just when the principles you spent your life defending have started to sink in a swamp of nonsense and incoherence, you decide to leave us.
I’ll leave the last word to Una Mullally. The decency of the Irish people was not limited to the liberal leafy suburbs of Dublin, nor the solidarity from the flats, but that decency came from the cliffs of Donegal, the lakes of Cavan, the farmyards of Kildare, the lanes of Kerry. . . I burst into tears after I voted yesterday.
I am happy to join a great many people from all over the earth who are thanking you for this, Ireland. Go raibh maith agaibh.