"But as a husband, I was a sanctioned tyrant"
May 21, 2015 6:09 AM   Subscribe

It is worth remembering that the things that were changed were ancient, hallowed traditions, sanctioned by time and religion and social practice. My right to rape my wife was part of common law – it had long seemed perfectly obvious and “natural” that the question of consent to sex simply didn’t arise in a marriage. (In many parts of the world, indeed, this still seems “natural”.) The idea that a wife was not a legally or economically separate person but a mere adjunct to her husband had very deep roots. Within my lifetime, even minimal changes to this idea were bitterly opposed.
Marriage was nothing to be proud of in 1983. On the eve of the Irish vote on marriage equality, Fintan O’Toole puts into context the change it will make to the "sanctitity" of marriage, by reflecting on the changes marriage in Ireland had already undergone since his own marriage in 1983. Tomorrow the Republic of Ireland will hold a referendum on Thirty-fourth Amendment of the Constitution (Marriage Equality) Bill 2015, which if passed would make gay marriage available.
posted by MartinWisse (111 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
I was thinking about posting this! I love Fintan O'Toole a lot, and this is a great column.

I'm irrationally invested in this thing, possibly because I follow a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter who are non-irrationally invested in this thing. It's been a long time coming, but I feel like, assuming it goes like it looks like it's going to go, it marks some sort of decisive turning point in modern Irish politics and society.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:14 AM on May 21, 2015


Exactly. The "traditional" definition of marriage, inasmuch as there is such a thing, basically meant the wife was the husband's property. If that's tradition, I want no part of it.
posted by Gelatin at 6:21 AM on May 21, 2015 [15 favorites]


My Irish friend and I don't talk about political or social issues too much these days, but last time she was here for a visit was during the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell". She asked what that meant, and when I explained, she looked absolutely horrified - at the notion that LGBT people were ever considered unfit for military service in the first place.

I'm reasonably confident she will be voting "yes" as a result.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:28 AM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really hope it passes and I'm raging I don't get to vote because I live in the North. While it's ostensibly about marriage, the part that has the No campaign up in arms is this:

Married couples of the opposite sex or of the same sex will be recognised as a family and be entitled to the Constitutional protection for families.

There's a whole lots of "won't someone think of the children?!" nonsense around. Basically, some people are saying: we will (at a push) tolerate same sex marriage, but we don't want the families of those people to be afforded the same protection under the Constitution as "straight" families. After all, as one TD said on BBC Talkback yesterday "Only a man and a woman can procreate naturally" (obviously I'm assuming that she feels opposite gender parents who need assistance to become pregnant for any reason are not "unnatural".)

It will be a great thing if it passes, a genuine moving forward for a really conservative country. Next stop - abortion referendum (yeah right...)
posted by billiebee at 6:34 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am sick to death of the phony "procreate" argument. My wife and I have children, yes; I've also since had a vasectomy. I can't procreate any more. That doesn't make this marriage, or any hypothetical future marriage of mine, any less valid, and shame on those who imply that it might be in their desperation to preserve an unfair status quo.
posted by Gelatin at 6:49 AM on May 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


I'm amazed that, on both sides of the Atlantic, the arguments against same-sex marriage haven't gotten better, and in fact seem to be getting worse. For example, Michael Brendan Dougherty, a writer I respect as a principled conservative, published a bizarre column in The Week in which he seems to be arguing that permitting same-sex marriage in Ireland--or, more generally, allowing the formation of families based on contractual rather than natural bonds--will lead to some dystopia where biological parents will be forced to give up their children if the state doesn't deem them properly fit to raise them. It's distressing that so many people believe that extending rights to marginalized groups means their own rights must be abrogated.
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:52 AM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


There's a whole lots of "won't someone think of the children?!" nonsense around.

So it turns out the family in the posters of the Irish no campaign was English, didn't know what their picture would be used for and is Not Happy because they do actually support marriage equality...
posted by MartinWisse at 6:55 AM on May 21, 2015 [24 favorites]


some dystopia where biological parents will be forced to give up their children if the state doesn't deem them properly fit to raise them


...this is already the case. We don't need gay marriage to have sensible child protection or social services.
posted by Dysk at 6:56 AM on May 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


Exactly. The "traditional" definition of marriage, inasmuch as there is such a thing, basically meant the wife was the husband's property.

Do you think that fact is lost on the "traditional" marriage advocates? They don't say it, but that's what they're ultimately after.
posted by chimaera at 6:57 AM on May 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Yep, just double-checked to make sure the Republic of Ireland wasn't arse-backwards on this front, and indeed, it is already the case that the state can force biological parents to give up their children if they are deemed unfit to care for them properly.
posted by Dysk at 7:07 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do you think that fact is lost on the "traditional" marriage advocates?

Of course not.

By the way, isn't it sweet how the "only biological families are legitimate families!" arguments of these "traditionalists" disparages adoptive families, even though adoption also enjoys a tradition going back millenia?
posted by Gelatin at 7:09 AM on May 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Jesus also had two dads.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:12 AM on May 21, 2015 [67 favorites]


especially considering how they treated (treat?) biological mothers in girls' homes.
posted by nadawi at 7:12 AM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


a writer I respect as a principled conservative

Ah, I think I see where you've gone wrong.
posted by Naberius at 7:16 AM on May 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


The thing is, this referendum is about the specific issue of marriage equality, but it's also about the role of the Catholic Church in Irish life. Part of what's at stake here is whether religion is a personal matter or whether Church teaching should structure government policies about sexuality and family life. Like I said, that's been a long time coming: you could argue that the decisive thing was actually the referendum that legalized divorce in 1995, or even the gradual legalization of contraception starting in the early '80s. But this feels different, I think because Ireland was so far behind the rest of the developed world on those issues, and they're kind of out in front on this one.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:19 AM on May 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


obviously I'm assuming that she feels opposite gender parents who need assistance to become pregnant for any reason are not "unnatural

Not a safe assumption for someone expressing those kinds of ideas in Ireland.
posted by atrazine at 7:30 AM on May 21, 2015


but they are all about (horrific, forced) adoptions. i bet the couples who adopt through the church aren't seen as unnatural or not really married.
posted by nadawi at 7:33 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Massively confident in a yes vote. Things tend to narrow here but I can't see it being less than 55% voting in favour (which is relatively decent, Irish people in the main vote against change).

I've seen like one No badge and a million Ta's or Yeses. People on the yes side do seem a lot more positive than in any election or referendum I've seen before.
posted by Swandive at 7:34 AM on May 21, 2015


I'm living in a bubble where I can't think of single one of my friends or family who will vote no. The awareness that this is a bubble is making me nervous, as I know there is a large, unknown and unsensed proportion of no voters out there. They are not particularly aligned with the vocal no, but the priest is calling for a no from the pulpit, they don't think they know a single gay person, their primary social unit is the family structure they're familiar with, their gut instinct is to punish the current government, they always vote. I fear it will be closer than people think.

Hope I can come back here super wrong about how close it was on Saturday morning! I'm biting my nails over this.
posted by distorte at 7:44 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I heard an Irish footballer on the BBC last night, and he pulled out the, "I think they should be allowed to marry, but what will this mean for The Family?"

Seemed totally bogus to me...
posted by Windopaene at 8:01 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hello from Ireland!

I have yet to see one 'NO' argument that makes a shred of logical sense. Roll on tomorrow!
posted by GallonOfAlan at 8:11 AM on May 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


The thing is, this referendum is about the specific issue of marriage equality, but it's also about the role of the Catholic Church in Irish life.

This. The main public face of the No side is the right-wing Catholic lobbying group the Iona Institute, who you may remember as the the shower of arseholes who took the state broadcaster to court over being accused of homophobia. Because being accused of homophobia is much worse than actually being homophobic. (See here and on the blue previously here). They also have links to American fundies.

All the 'what about the children?!' nonsense is particularly noxious when you look at the people behind it. Senator Ronan Mullen, another prominent voice on the No side, used to be spokesperson for the former archbishop of Dublin Desmond Connell, and was thus extremely close to the bishop's and the diocese's active covering up of widespread child abuse by the Catholic Church. Shows the priorities.

Irish person living in the UK here, sick to my stomach that I can't go back and vote yes.

By the way, isn't it sweet how the "only biological families are legitimate families!" arguments of these "traditionalists" disparages adoptive families, even though adoption also enjoys a tradition going back millenia?

Gelatin: Indeed, the No side has been very careful to not to mention that they are deeply set against single parents and any 'non-traditional' family setups because they know that actually showing the logical follow-on of their beliefs would expose them for what they truly are.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 8:19 AM on May 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Do you think that fact is lost on the "traditional" marriage advocates? They don't say it, but that's what they're ultimately after.

They think they're being slick, eschewing "patriarchy" in favor of "complementarianism."
posted by imnotasquirrel at 8:19 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


> I'm amazed that, on both sides of the Atlantic, the arguments against same-sex marriage haven't gotten better, and in fact seem to be getting worse.

That's because there really aren't any decent ones, especially if you live in a non-theocratic society where there are civil options for marriage. There was one that cropped up in the Washington Post recently that legalizing gay marriage was bad because it will cause more abortions. As a gay-married person, I appreciate that people want to attribute all these amazing super powers to me, but I just can't demonstrate them, no matter how hard I try! (Not very hard, honestly. I am lazy.)

This was a great column - thanks for the post.
posted by rtha at 8:20 AM on May 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Making logical sense is not something the NO campaign have been doing a lot of lately. But it won't stop a large part of the population from voting no for all sorts of oddball reasons, including local party politics. From a graphic design perspective alone the No campaign is ahead (the Yes posters are very poorly done in comparison to the solid block colours, simple slogans and big images on the No posters).

I'm a firm Yes supporter, as is everyone around me, but I'm old enough to remember all the previous referenda where it really came down to the line. Beware of the bubble you live in.

But what about the other half of the referendum - the minimum age of the presidency? Won't someone think of the children!!!1! (who want to be President)
posted by Not on your nellie at 8:23 AM on May 21, 2015


Indeed, the No side has been very careful to not to mention that they are deeply set against single parents and any 'non-traditional' family setups because they know that actually showing the logical follow-on of their beliefs would expose them for what they truly are.

Surely the cat is out of the bag on that one. That poster, in particular, caused enormous offence to single parents, widows, etc.

The no campaign's main strategy has been, as mentioned above, to deliberately confuse marriage and children and bring adoption and surrogacy into the debate despite the fact that gay couples can already adopt, unmarried couples can already adopt, and surrogacy is currently unrecognised under Irish law.
posted by kersplunk at 8:30 AM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


GallonOfAlan - I have yet to see one 'NO' argument that makes a shred of logical sense.

Often it is not about logic, it is about emotion. The No campaign have been pretty strong on appealing to emotion rather than logic.
posted by asok at 8:32 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


These are the arguments for a no vote that were made to me by the only person I know who has said he's voting no, in a series of pretty heated back and forth emails with me:
  • On a technicality it will instantly invalidate and make illegal all marriage between a man and a woman
  • People in same sex marriages won't be able to get divorced if one partner cheats
  • Because marriages can be annulled because of non-consumation, all gay marriages will be automatically annulled because they can't give conceive children
  • If a gay couple have a child, one or both of them will be genetically unrelated to the child
  • Incest laws exist only to prevent children being born, therefore a man can now marry his own father or brother etc
  • A straight divorcee with children could have a sham gay marriage to get exclusive access to their children as it's better they have two parents rather than one
  • Gay couples already have civil partnerships so it's actually straight couples that are discriminated against
  • People are only voting for gay marriage because they dislike the Catholic church
  • The gay marriage amendment does nothing to better the life of him, a straight unmarried man with a child from a previous relationship
So yeah, to say it's not about logic is putting it mildly.
posted by kersplunk at 8:43 AM on May 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


On a technicality it will instantly invalidate and make illegal all marriage between a man and a woman

While this is obviously not true, it reminded me of a point I hadn't heard raised before yesterday. Namely that if a couple are married and one of them is trans*, then if they choose to transition they will be forced to get divorced whether they want to or not. Which feels like a horrible thing to do - it's bad enough not to allow people to marry whoever they want but to invalidate a potentially happy marriage is terribly cruel.
posted by billiebee at 8:50 AM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


If the No vote prevails, I mean.
posted by billiebee at 8:50 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, kersplunk, it's actually kind of interesting to see all those arguments assembled together by one person who's obviously really thought about it. (I don't mean he's thought about it and come to good conclusions, just that it's not the vague noes you hear from most no advocates). I just got bingo on my paranoid prejudice bingo card.


A straight divorcee with children could have a sham gay marriage to get exclusive access to their children as it's better they have two parents rather than one
Where do they even find someone to do that with? Why not just get a sham straight marriage?
posted by distorte at 8:51 AM on May 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


that trans marriage issue is one that stresses some of my friends here in the states. they were both allowed to get married (to different people), but should something happen where the validity of their marriages comes up, depending on how the law is interpreted one would be married and one wouldn't. i can't wait until our laws catch up to the point that the law agrees they have the right to be married to their chosen partners.
posted by nadawi at 9:00 AM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


If a gay couple have a child, one or both of them will be genetically unrelated to the child

How terrible to contemplate that a straight person might marry someone who already has a child they'd be genetically unrelated to.

I've already dispensed with the disparaging of adoptive families. Sheesh.
posted by Gelatin at 9:14 AM on May 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


we don't want the families of those people to be afforded the same protection under the Constitution as "straight" families.

For people not super familiar with Irish law - what constitutional protections do families have?
posted by corb at 9:31 AM on May 21, 2015


•People in same sex marriages won't be able to get divorced if one partner cheats
•Because marriages can be annulled because of non-consumation, all gay marriages will be automatically annulled because they can't give conceive children


Wait, where does this even come from? Is there some proposal to not allow infidelity as a grounds for divorce but only for gay couples? And is 'nonconsumnation' still a legal grounds for annulment?
posted by corb at 9:34 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah I guess it's like "strict constructionists" in the US - they think that they're just being faithful to the constitution but in reality their starting point isn't the text of the constitution but their own biases. They then work backwards from those biases, using out of context snippets and over-literal interpretations of various clauses when they agree with what they believe in their heart.

If you try to argue using reason, for example when the guy said "People in same sex marriages won't be able to get divorced if one partner cheats" I pointed out:
  • he was talking about a supposed loophole in Britain, which has completely different divorce law to Ireland

  • it's based on a literal reading of the word 'adultery' that goes back to mediaeval times that excludes same-sex activity, but that doesn't matter, because there is an 'unreasonable behaviour' clause that cheating falls under so his premise is false

  • he doesn't say why a loophole - if it existed - that could be easily fixed - is a reason to ban gay marriage outright


  • But it doesn't matter because you lay out your case and it's ignored and you just get another "aha! well what about..." some other irrelevant rubbish".
    posted by kersplunk at 9:36 AM on May 21, 2015


    Sorry, for people who saw my list of insanity, none of that is true or proposed to be true. It's all arguments that a no voter made to me, some of it dug out of context from laws that are hundreds of years old.
    posted by kersplunk at 9:37 AM on May 21, 2015


    For people not super familiar with Irish law - what constitutional protections do families have?
    Here's the current text of the Irish Constitution's section on the family:
    THE FAMILY


    ARTICLE 41

    1 1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.


    2° The State, therefore, guarantees to protect the Family in its constitution and authority, as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.


    2 1° In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.


    2° The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.


    3 1° The State pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of Marriage, on which the Family is founded, and to protect it against attack.


    2° A Court designated by law may grant a dissolution of marriage where, but only where, it is satisfied that –


    i at the date of the institution of the proceedings, the spouses have lived apart from one another for a period of, or periods amounting to, at least four years during the previous five years,


    ii there is no reasonable prospect of a reconciliation between the spouses,


    iii such provision as the Court considers proper having regard to the circumstances exists or will be made for the spouses, any children of either or both of them and any other person prescribed by law, and


    iv any further conditions prescribed by law are complied with.


    3° No person whose marriage has been dissolved under the civil law of any other State but is a subsisting valid marriage under the law for the time being in force within the jurisdiction of the Government and Parliament established by this Constitution shall be capable of contracting a valid marriage within that jurisdiction during the lifetime of the other party to the marriage so dissolved.
    The stuff on the dissolution of marriage is from the 1995 referendum: originally the Constitution just said that marriages could never be dissolved.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:45 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


    especially considering how they treated (treat?) biological mothers in girls' homes.

    If you're thinking of the Magdalene Laundries, it is indeed treated.
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:46 AM on May 21, 2015


    The stuff on the dissolution of marriage is from the 1995 referendum: originally the Constitution just said that marriages could never be dissolved.

    Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ. I had no idea things were so bad for so long. This is surreal. Yeah, 'Things have been shitty in the past, thus no gay marriage' is crazy.
    posted by corb at 9:52 AM on May 21, 2015


    The thing you have to realize with Ireland is that there's always been the official version and then the way things worked on the ground. So divorce was only legalized in 1996, but before then there was a lot of unofficial tolerance of what was technically bigamy. If you were well and truly separated from your spouse for a long time, probably nobody was going to say anything if you quietly married someone else. A lot of people wanted their neighbors to be able to live as they saw fit, but they didn't want the state to officially sanction it.

    At least, that's how it seems to me, as an outsider who has spent a fair amount of time in Ireland and studied a lot of Irish history.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:57 AM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


    I didn't think I knew anyone voting No until someone brought it up at work, and then I got to hear more "they already have civil partnerships but apparently that's not enough for them" and misunderstandings of the adoption situation than I needed.

    On the upside, I know one person who was so turned off by the No posters (as someone raised by a single parent) that they are no longer voting that way, so it's nice to see those backfiring.
    posted by carbide at 10:16 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


    If you were well and truly separated from your spouse for a long time, probably nobody was going to say anything if you quietly married someone else.

    Yeah, that's not true. What happened was that people were separated for years and years and may have gone on to have other relationships and kids but were never legally divorced, and that was just accepted. When divorce was legalised many people finalised things and many never did. But "people turned a blind eye to bigamy" is a totally different matter. My own parents were separated for about 20-25 years before they divorced, in the meantime they both had long-term partners and my Dad had another child, even though they're both Catholics (my Mum particularly church-going) and that was pretty much the standard. (Although we're in the North so divorce was legal then but "not done" if you were Catholic - it becoming legal in the South I think altered the perception among some Northern Catholics about it being more acceptable.)
    posted by billiebee at 10:17 AM on May 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


    Does that part about Ireland trying to prevent working mothers from existing actually translate into real and effective welfare for mothers, or is it just Empty posturing?
    posted by sotonohito at 10:19 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Jesus H. Tap-dancing Christ. I had no idea things were so bad for so long. This is surreal.

    Homosexuality was only decriminalised in 1993, condoms were only made available without prescription outside of pharmacies in 1993, divorce was illegal until 1996 and abortions are still illegal.

    The thing you have to realize with Ireland is that there's always been the official version and then the way things worked on the ground.

    "The whole point of the law is that it’s not about giving people equal status because you like them. It’s about freeing people from subjection to the arbitrariness of other people’s benevolence."
    With pretty much any social issue, be it unwed mothers with babies/homosexuality/deviating from the norm, it was only ever the 'right sort of people' whose lifestyles were tolerated. Whether what you did was considered a sin or not rested a lot on the influence of the community (i.e. the local parish priest, police, important local men).

    Look at the Magdelene laundries if you want to see how the 'wrong sort of girl' was treated when she wasn't the daughter of the politician or someone with some influence. Or hell, look at the 800 infants found secretly buried in Tuam outside a mother-and-babies home (previously). The fathers of the children were clearly tolerated, or at least let away with a wink and a nod, but the mothers damn well weren't.

    Even now, with the Catholic church controlling the overwhelming majority of schools in Ireland, teachers can be fired without warning for being gay and the church is fighting tooth and nail to keep this. Your rights shouldn't depend on how tolerated you are.
    posted by ocular shenanigans at 10:20 AM on May 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


    Here's the current text of the Irish Constitution's section on the family

    . . . oh my God. That's nuts. I . . . wow. I don't even have words for that article.


    In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

    *rage*
    posted by chainsofreedom at 10:24 AM on May 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


    Roddy Doyle's Two Pints characters have been chewing it over on his facebook. I liked this one in particular.
    posted by IanMorr at 10:52 AM on May 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


    The Fintan O'Toole link is lovely and I'm glad I read it. People forget how awful "traditional marriage" was in their rush to preserve it.
    posted by immlass at 12:05 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Also that "traditional marriage" and "family" are social constructs and we can actually choose to reorganise them whatever way we please (moral panic notwithstanding)
    posted by billiebee at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


    "The whole point of the law is that it’s not about giving people equal status because you like them. It’s about freeing people from subjection to the arbitrariness of other people’s benevolence."

    By the same token--as much as I support my Irish friends who are fighting the good fight, voting Yes, and urging others to do the same--my equality (and that of a close, gay, Irish (back living there now) friend) must not depend on a vote. The whole thing about rights is that they aren't subject to votes. Equality is non-negotiable.
    posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:47 PM on May 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


    The Yes side is fighting for two results here. The first, and most urgent, is the 50% + 1 outcome, where the next day the law can be changed to allow same-sex marriage. Obviously that is huge, and well-earned if won.

    But I think if the result is a 50% + 1 victory, a lot of people will be a bit disappointed. This campaign has had an unprecedented level of support. Every political party favours Yes. Every charity. Former president Mary McAleese, who is basically an honorary cardinal at this point. Paypal, eBay, and Twitter came out in strong favour. Every newspaper I saw write an editorial says vote Yes. University student drives have registered tens of thousands of students to vote in the last two months alone. People are flying back from the UK, US, and Australia just to vote yes. QI says yes. So does Mrs Brown. Even Daniel O'Donnell supports it!

    Maybe the most affecting argument was made here by the political journalist Ursula Halligan. (It was the only one to make me cry anyway). Her conclusion:
    If Ireland votes Yes, it will be about much more than marriage. It will end institutional homophobia. It will say to gay people that they belong, that it’s safe to surface and live fully human, loving lives. If it’s true that 10 per cent of any population are gay, then there could be 400,000 gay people out there; many of them still living in emotional prisons. Any of them could be your son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father or best friend. Set them free. Allow them live full lives.
    (Broadcast media figures are not permitted to say how they vote (PDF), so she had to step down from coverage after writing that).

    It's going to come as a blow if, after all that, it turns out that half the country still won't accept the humanity of same-sex couples. And it means that establishment parties will be much less likely to support further social change.

    David Quinn, a main architect of the No campaign, isn't my idea of a political role model. But he is media savvy. (The state is obliged to provide 50% of airtime to both sides, regardless of their popular support. Quinn/Iona are very good at exploiting this, by providing intelligent, articulate and seemingly sane representatives for the traditional viewpoint. Broadcasters don't really want to give a platform to embarrassing fringe groups, so this is gratefully accepted. Without it, the No position would look a lot less credible). And as bananas as this recording/transcript of him discussing the No strategy might sound overall, I think his first point is actually right: the result here will affect decisions to come.

    The No side can claim victory even if they lose. All the establishment was against us, they'll say: the liberal media, the PC thought police, and we still came close to winning.

    So first and foremost I hope Yes wins, by any margin. But I also hope it wins big (say by at least over 60%), because it will send a message and it will make a difference.
    posted by rollick at 1:26 PM on May 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


    Democracy in Ireland has always suffered from the lack of the voices of those who've had to leave; the young, the queer, those sold to rich American familes. I hope to wake on Saturday as married in Ireland as I am in the country that offered me a future twenty years ago.
    posted by Iteki at 2:32 PM on May 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


    There's no absentee voting or you're in the UK?

    I'm thrilled at the prospect of Ireland legalizing gay marriage. Go Ireland!!
    posted by persona au gratin at 7:58 PM on May 21, 2015


    This, I am told, is the original Twitter posting of a photo from Dublin Airport last night that's been reposted all over the place since. Noteworthy addition: 18 more flights arrived last night after this was taken at 1930 local time, and the airport is expecting a LOT more arrivals during tomorrow.

    Apparently Holyhead Station was jumping last night as well as UK residents headed for the boat.

    (If this doesn't sound like a huge thing, remember that the vote goes to a single national count, there are only about 2.8 million eligible voters, and turnout in referenda rarely breaks 50%. Dumping tens of thousands more votes into the country in the last 24 hours is non-trivial.)
    posted by genghis at 9:57 PM on May 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


    Gelatin: "How terrible to contemplate that a straight person might marry someone who already has a child they'd be genetically unrelated to. "

    Or, you know, infidelity leading to paternity fraud [ 0.8% to 30% (median 3.7%)].
    posted by Mitheral at 10:25 PM on May 21, 2015


    Queues forming outside polling stations an hour ago before they opened at 0700. That ain't no No crowd in the pic.

    This could be good.
    posted by genghis at 11:41 PM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


    Does that part about Ireland trying to prevent working mothers from existing actually translate into real and effective welfare for mothers, or is it just Empty posturing?

    Nowadays: empty posturing. In the past: up to the early 70's, a woman in a civil service job had to leave if she got married.
    posted by kersplunk at 1:05 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


    There's no absentee voting or you're in the UK?

    Irish citizens abroad have no way of voting unless they have been gone for 18 months or less. All those crowds in the photos at the airport are recent emigrants.

    Iteki's point is that those who are most likely to change the status quo are those who have had to leave Ireland for economic or other reasons, now and throughout the 20th century. Which is just the way the powers that be would have it.
    posted by ocular shenanigans at 1:52 AM on May 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


    I just voted there, polling station seemed quite a bit busier than normal. Here's hoping for a resounding Yes victory!
    posted by nfg at 3:12 AM on May 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


    Yay nfg! I am doing my bit from afar and making people take down their fecking selfless with their polling cards and YES badges. I am concerned about No-campaigners going for a challenge of result due to impinged ballot secrecy. Woud of course be bullshit, but what's new?
    posted by Iteki at 3:50 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


    The #hometovote hashtag is quite a thing. It seems to make any room instantly dusty.
    posted by Happy Dave at 5:21 AM on May 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


    Also, #bemyyes for those of us gone long enough to be off the register. I'm in there somewhere.

    Rory O'Neill (aka Panti Bliss, previously) talks eloquently about what a No vote would feel like.

    I am torn between being amazed that this vote is even happening and terrified I'll be told again than Ireland is only for part of me - that I am accepted because I ended up with a man and if my long term partner had been a woman I'd for ever be a second class citizen. That if my children came home it would mean closing off choices for them.

    I know people who'll be voting No today, including several members of my family so I don't dare be hopeful. But if the power of me obsessively worrying can carry the vote, I'll have done all that I can.
    posted by hfnuala at 5:48 AM on May 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


    The #hometovote hashtag is quite a thing. It seems to make any room instantly dusty.

    No kidding. I just had to explain to the people I share my office with why I suddenly got so sniffly.

    People are amazingly beautiful at times.
    posted by Jalliah at 7:29 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


    The gay marriage amendment does nothing to better the life of him, a straight unmarried man with a child from a previous relationship

    This is probably true, and how dare anyone pass laws that help someone else but don't ALSO help the poor straight men at least as much?
    posted by jeather at 8:06 AM on May 22, 2015


    I'm naive to think that living in a more equitable, just society helps everyone.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:11 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


    The Irish Times liveblog just put up a tweet predicting a turnout well over 70%, possibly up to 80. If true, it could be the highest in the history of the state.
    posted by rollick at 8:45 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]




    I'm another emigrant gone too long to go back and vote, the reports of the recent emigrants flying home from London and points further out are so touching.

    I just saw someone posting on reddit that the sense of anticipation at home is like "when Packie Bonner was facing the Romanian penalty in the WC" which was perfect, haha.
    posted by jamesonandwater at 9:54 AM on May 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


    jamesonandwater (hmm, now I'm thirsty...), could you translate that for the non Irish?
    posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:58 AM on May 22, 2015


    FFFM, in 1990 the country came to a standstill to watch Ireland make it through to the quarter final of the world cup after Packie Bonner saved a penalty. Much held breath and then massive nationwide celebration, which is hopefully what we're getting tomorrow!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gaj2vONg67I
    posted by jamesonandwater at 10:07 AM on May 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Ahhh. I was thinking WC = water closet, and wondering what bit of Irish slang I had failed to learn from Irish colleagues!
    posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:18 AM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


    So the Irish Times livetweet thing makes it look like turnout is really high in Dublin and maybe not so high in rural areas. That may be totally unrepresentative, but if it's true, it's a good sign, right?
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:56 AM on May 22, 2015


    My understanding is that the polls close at 5pm east-coast-US time. Does anyone know what time we might start to see results published?
    posted by Blue Jello Elf at 12:22 PM on May 22, 2015


    Anyone have a decent (YES-leaning) media source with some coverage I can listen to? Ideally webradio or similar?
    posted by Iteki at 12:23 PM on May 22, 2015


    Counting starts 9am Irish-time, indications around lunch.
    posted by Iteki at 12:27 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


    So 7am Eastern Saturday morning?
    posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:29 PM on May 22, 2015


    Thanks!
    posted by Blue Jello Elf at 12:37 PM on May 22, 2015


    Happy Dave: "The #hometovote hashtag is quite a thing. It seems to make any room instantly dusty."

    #hometovote has been making me cry all day. My Irish family emigrated to the US four generations ago but it STILL makes me proud to be part of the Irish diaspora.
    posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:41 PM on May 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Teenage discos excepted, I've never seen Ballinspittle Community Hall as busy as when I voted today, and I'm glad to say that at 35 I felt pretty old in the queue. I'm hoping that last weekend's rather worrying polls galvanised otherwise complacent potential Yes voters into turning out to be on the right side of history. I don't like the idea of having to vote on basic human rights, but, as commenters have pointed out above, Ireland in the last twenty years has shown how a bad constitution, written once in haste, can only be made right gradually, ballot by ballot.

    I'll be in the pub for the aftermath tomorrow and will probably comment in this thread, and will either be incomprehensible or unprintable, so apologies in advance. (That said, I've spent this evening catching up with some #hometovotes, so I may not be too coherent right now...)
    posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels at 7:04 PM on May 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


    The count will get started at 09.00 here, so just two hours after this post. The result is expected two or three hours later.

    If you want to follow along live, here are some options:

    Television
    RTÉ One has coverage from 10.00 - 13.00. They've said it should be available internationally.

    Radio
    RTÉ Radio One will also start its coverage at 10.00.
    Newstalk will start at 09.00.

    Both should be available on the TuneIn app, if you're on mobile.

    Web
    Irish Times liveblog starts again at 09.00 (no link yet: here's yesterday's archive).
    TheJournal.ie liveblog
    #MarRef on Twitter

    As far as I know, TV and radio broadcasters are still obligated to provide equal airtime to both sides, and not to express any views on the results themselves. Online media is not.
    posted by rollick at 10:59 PM on May 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


    The count has started. It's early days but all the commentators are calling it an emphatic win for the yes side. Today may be the first time in a long while I feel a little bit proud to be Irish.
    posted by night_train at 1:37 AM on May 23, 2015


    According to the Irish Times live blog, Mayo is currently at 55% yes and 45% no. That's got to be a good sign.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:40 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Pretty clear yes vote now, the Irish Times has given a rough approximation of 66% - 33% nationwide.
    posted by deadwax at 2:18 AM on May 23, 2015


    I'm thrilled that it looks like it's not just going to be Yes, but Fuck Yes! Really proud of the South for so emphatically standing up for equality. Twitter is a lovely place to be today #MarRef
    posted by billiebee at 2:41 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    It really sounds like the overwhelming majority of constituencies are going yes, which is really interesting. The guy on RTE says that only four constituencies outside of Dublin voted yes on divorce, and this time it's hard to find constituencies that are voting no.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:09 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]




    If you told me Ireland and the USA will legalize gay marriage before Germany six years ago I would have founds that ... rather unlikely to put it mildly. But it looks like it's totally going to happen this summer.
    posted by ZeroAmbition at 3:32 AM on May 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    Woke up early to watch the counts come in, happily crying over the #marref tag on Twitter for beautiful things like this. Congratulations Ireland!
    posted by donnagirl at 3:39 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    What a proud day for Ireland.
    posted by hawthorne at 3:43 AM on May 23, 2015


    crying over the #marref tag on Twitter for beautiful things like this

    This is the one that made me most dusty-eyed.
    posted by billiebee at 3:47 AM on May 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    The feels.
    I didn't dare hope after voting yesterday, but it was hard to suppress optimism while looking through #hometovote.
    There's a lot broken with this country but for the most part, people are sound.
    Proud day.
    posted by we are the music makers at 4:32 AM on May 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    I've had the radio on all morning, it's a gorgeous thing. There's a lot with Ireland that woud drive you mad, but I think the universality of this vote and the clearness of the message is something that will be good for us as a people. God, I'm fucking wrecked, I need a nap before our little party tonight.
    posted by Iteki at 4:33 AM on May 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


    This is looking good. A solid majority. In particular it is encouraging that rural Ireland isn't overwhelmingly voting No.

    For those that are interested, Sinead O'Connor has written an open letter to one of the most prominent No voices, journalist John Waters. Waters is also her former partner and father of her child. It's a lovely letter.
    posted by ocular shenanigans at 4:38 AM on May 23, 2015 [3 favorites]




    It's a magnificently sunny morning here in Dublin, and I'm grinning like a flipping idiot.
    posted by distorte at 5:22 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Yeah, it's a beautiful day here. I'm so happy at the turnout. That so many people went to the polls to vote so that other people could have a right that they already have is amazing. This is such a positive thing for the country, the future isn't as bleak as it has seemed to be for a while now.
    posted by Elmore at 5:31 AM on May 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    It looks like more than just "yes" but rather like a "FUCK yes".
    posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:33 AM on May 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    As the Irish equalities minister put it on twitter:
    "Ireland hasn't just said "Yes"...
    Ireland has said:
    "F❤CK YEAAHHHH"
    posted by knapah at 6:32 AM on May 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


    ah jeez these arkansas allergies are really dusting up the joint over here. what lovely news to meet upon waking.
    posted by nadawi at 6:33 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


    O'Toole on Twitter:

    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.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:41 AM on May 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


    What is the dad joke??? I can't get vine to work!
    posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:02 AM on May 23, 2015


    What is the dad joke??? I can't get vine to work!

    "I'm all in favor of same sex marriage, because I've been having the same sex with the wife for thirty years!"
    posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:13 AM on May 23, 2015


    Wow only one constituency in Dublin to dip below 70% yes, they're saying on RTE. Can't wait to see what my crowd in Dun Laoghaire voted.
    posted by jamesonandwater at 8:24 AM on May 23, 2015


    Wow margin of 33 votes for yes in Donegal SW. Tightest result of the day?
    posted by jamesonandwater at 8:27 AM on May 23, 2015


    Nope, jamesonandwater, that goes to Roscommon, at 112 to 111.
    posted by ChrisR at 8:30 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    So far every constituency has gone yes. It's not terribly surprising about Dublin, but Mayo and Galway East also voted yes, albeit by a much smaller majority. There's a possibility that every single constituency in Ireland will vote yes. Contrast that to the divorce referendum 20 years ago, which barely won and which won totally on the strength of the Dublin vote. The divorce referendum got 35% of votes in Galway East and 37% in Mayo. I think one thing that this does is sort of challenge the idea of there being two distinct Irelands, rural and urban. That may have been true 20 years ago, but in some important ways it's less true now.
    posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:32 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    "The first constituency to vote No is Roscommon-South Leitrim by 51.42% to 48.58%. That is 18,644 No Votes and 17,615 for Yes. A margin of 1,029. The turnout is 61.49%."

    Booo.
    posted by knapah at 9:02 AM on May 23, 2015


    Damn, apparently Roscommon went from "Close" to "No"; On the positive side, so far it's the only constituency to do so.
    posted by ChrisR at 9:03 AM on May 23, 2015


    Roscommon-South Leitrim, scarlet for ya
    posted by Elmore at 9:56 AM on May 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


    It's over. All constituencies have reported. It's official.
    posted by nangar at 11:11 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


    62%. That'll do.
    posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels at 11:17 AM on May 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


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