On May 22, Ireland will hold a national vote on marriage equality and may be the first country in the world to pass this law. Ireland has made huge achievements over the last 20 years regarding LGBT rights. In 1993, homosexuality was decriminalized and the Civil Partnership Act was passed in 2010. LGBT rights groups have made huge strides and really have changed the people of Ireland’s opinions on gay marriage. The first opinion poll on the topic in 2015 shows 76% in support for gay marriage. Although there are still some who are opposed to the idea of gay marriage, the Catholic Church and other small advocate groups are making sure their voices are heard. The repetitive claim that many people who are against gay marriage seem to make, “denying” children of a mother and father. In reality though, one-third of children in Ireland are raised outside of the traditional heterosexual married family structure. The Alliance for the Defense of the Family and Marriage made claims earlier this month in Dublin that “homosexuals will contract cancer earlier in life” and saying voting for same-sex marriage “is like voting for Islamic State-style sharia law”. The “no campaign” is using fear and offensive claims to back up their stance against gay marriage. If this law is passed, it will make global movements in marriage equality.
I still find it hard to believe that a country that is so heavily influenced by Catholicism is taking major steps towards marriage equality, but it is exciting news. I look forward to the verdict in May and also more offensive and ridiculous claims like “gay cancer”.