I did an interview recently with The Boston Globe newspaper in which the writer, Jim O’Sullivan, described me thus: “Donal Reid, 53, a star footballer in Donegal in the 1980s and 1990s, worries about that next step. Now a physical therapist that still coaches and works with football teams, Reid has the scattered teeth and mangled hands of an aging contact-sport athlete”.
Forget about the scattered teeth and mangled hands, it is the words “worries about the next step” that I want to draw your attention to. His article was entitled “The greening of gay marriage in Ireland” (29th March 2015). I believe that we should all be worried about the next step if the ‘Yes’ vote on the same sex marriage referendum is carried.
The government, all of the political opposition parties and the majority of the media are sprouting propaganda that is totally misleading. We are facing a referendum without an Oireachtas inquiry, a public hearing or a working group that could consider the social, psychological and legal implications of same sex marriage.
The establishment would have you believe that if you vote ‘No’ that you are jeopardising Ireland’s political future. Opponents of the proposal are quiet and fearful to openly voice their opinions in case they are branded “antediluvian bigots and homophobes”.
As stated in a previous article I am neither. My conscience is crystal clear in these respects. I encourage you to read the small print which will tell you that you are voting on whether or not to redefine marriage and the family.
To say that we are voting on “equality and romance” is all too easy. By doing this, the government is stealthily appealing to our very basic instincts of conscience and emotion. They can colour our minds in whatever form they choose but they cannot ignore the fact that there will be serious consequences if they get what they want.
For them, gay marriage is not really about expanding freedom at all. The reason so many in the political and media classes need the amendment to the Constitution to pass is because they believe that legalising gay marriage will help rejuvenate Ireland in the twenty-first century.
James Reilly, Minister for Children, said that if Ireland doesn’t legalise gay marriage, it would ‘send out a bad message internationally’ (Irish Times, March 9th, 2015). Or as Enda Kenny put it, passing gay marriage will ‘send out a powerful signal internationally that Ireland has evolved into a fair, compassionate and tolerant nation’. This very important referendum should not be about ‘sending out signals’.
Those of us who still view marriage as a precious gift where the family is central to its concept need to overcome our fear of being marginalised and silenced. We must realise that the laws on marriage, the family and concomitant laws in respect of children will have to be rewritten. This referendum is not a vote on just who should be able to get married. We are being asked to change Article 41 of the Constitution called ‘The Family’.
Did you know that the Children and Family Relationships Bill was passed on the 30th March this year? Professor Patricia Casey on behalf of the Iona Institute says that “The Children and Family Relationships Bill attaches no special value at all to motherhood and fatherhood which is why it is completely indifferent as to whether or not children are raised by their own mothers and fathers, or any mother and father.” Our government would have us believe that this bill is not connected in any way to the forthcoming referendum. What do you think?
Also, the assertion that “gay marriage won’t affect you” is erroneous. It surprises me that people on the political and moral Left can pretend that when it comes to sex every man is an island, while in most every other areas they are so quick to see far reaching social ripple effects from personal actions. Environmentalists want us to “think globally, act locally,” because, apparently, drinking from a polystyrene cup vaporizes the rain forest. Others tell us to “live simply that others may simply live,” the implication being that my luxury is the distant cause of someone else’s poverty. Western culture as we know it is built on thousands of years of viewing marriage, sex and family life in certain ways. To say that we can redefine those views and not change the culture is wilfully naïve. We all have to live in the world that same sex marriage will create.
The goal of legalising same sex marriage is well intentioned in that we want to heal the wounded. When by the power of law, the state applauds woundedness, deepens it; when it creates conditions that will increase the numbers of the wounded; when it prioritises making the wounded into adoptive parents, giving them leadership positions in government, education, religion and lionising their condition in public observances, school curricula and the media, how does this not profoundly affect life for the rest of us?
I encourage you to not to be afraid to speak up if you believe that marriage and the family should be left as they are. Otherwise the consequences will have to be endured by generations to come.
It’s our choice.