Somewhere Over the Rainbow…is Ireland
The May 22 referendum legalizing same-sex marriage in Ireland might have your Irish Catholic grandpa rolling over in his grave. Or maybe not. Turns out the majority of Catholic voters were actually in favor of the law. “But for all this talk of a vanishing Catholic Church, Ireland remains a deeply Catholic nation: although more than 62 percent of Irish who voted in the referendum supported same-sex marriage, a full 83.2 percent of the population still claims to be Catholic,” reports Jack Jenkins of ThinkProgress.com. Ireland was the first nation to approve same-sex marriage by a popular vote. The other 19 nations and 37 states here in the United States that have legalized same-sex marriage have done so through legislative actions. The reaction from opponents of the measure was, well, kind. The Iona Institute for Religion and Society issued a statement congratulating the other side on a “very professional campaign that in truth began long before the official campaign started.” It went on to state, “we will continue to affirm the importance of the biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood” and it reminded that the government must “address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.” Will Ireland’s bold statement divide or unite the nation in the end? Time will tell. But the rest of the world can learn from the civilized discussion now taking place as all Irish determine what a broader definition of marriage will mean. Some, like Tim Stanley in The Telegraph, believe the referendum might actually be a score for conservatives. He writes, “The very campaign for gay marriage could represent a subtle shift towards monogamy and a search for something that transcends all the cruelty of a society hooked on disposability. People are crying out for a more human alternative to this social order.” The one thing almost everyone agrees upon was stated eloquently by Jenkins: “If the Irish are known for anything, it’s for their rollicking history of fighting to bring oppressive powers low before God.” Grandpa may not have understood the rainbow flag, but he would be proud of that Irish fight.