Having grown up in Ireland, I know only too well the power and control the Catholic Church had on its people and on their beliefs. Fear of the church, and ‘Catholic’ guilt was deeply ingrained. Its authority unquestioned.
So for Ireland to be the first country in the world to say ‘Yes’ to same sex marriage by the people is a milestone. The fact that the younger electorate turned out in their droves to vote, that people came home from abroad to vote says something BIG. Ireland is changing and for the better. The influence of the Church waining. The Church realising it is time to change.
It was only less than 20 years ago that homosexuality in Ireland was illegal. Crazy isn’t it that a human being’s right to LOVE, to HAPPINESS and SEX with another person of the same sex was condemned and a criminal act?
The statistics on gay rights around the world makes for pretty sad reading.
Same sex marriage is LEGAL in ONLY 18 countries world wide.
Some African countries have passed new laws to make homosexuality illegal, as has India. Homosexuality is ILLEGAL in 77 countries worldwide and it carries the death penalty in 7.
My only wish is that this historic vote in Ireland will give the Gay Rights Movement across the globe new hope and inspiration, and challenge the beliefs of those who believe gay rights to be wrong.
As I eagerly waited on the result I thought of my own two year son and my wish for him to be happy, to be respected no matter what his sexual orientation may be. Nobody wakes up one day and decides that they are gay. Just like no one wakes up and decides to be straight. It just is.
Pope Francis said recently of gay people: “Who am I to judge?”. Indeed, who is anyone to judge another human being of different sexual orientation, race, background and religion.
He also said in reply to a question as to whether he approved of homosexuality. ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’
No person is born to hate, to condemn, to judge or fight another. It is learned. And it can be unlearned. The next generation does not have to believe what the previous did. And this is what is happening in Ireland.