It’s midnight in Australia and on the other side of the planet, something amazing – truly beautiful and inspiring – has happened.
The majority Catholic and otherwise conservative nation of Ireland took equal rights in marriage to a referendum. On a single question, the people of the Republic were asked if they were in favour or against amending their constitution in relation to the definition of marriage.
As it stands, the people have voted YES!
This means, for the first time in human history, a nation has legalised equal marriage, regardless of gender, by popular vote. Not by the vote of parliament, or an act of a singular state, but as a nation they have democratically chosen to accept that love knows no bounds or gender.
I cannot express the utter joy and elation this moment has brought me!
I’m not gay. I’m married and very much heterosexual. I’m not Irish either. So what does this landmark event have to do with me?
I have friends and loved ones who are homosexual. I have colleagues and neighbours, associates and fellow humans who are gay.
And I am a mother.
My child is only a toddler and his sexual identity is still ambiguous, but there is every chance he might discover in his growing years that he is attracted to men. He might equally discover that he is attracted to women.
This popular vote to recognise the love of two humans in marriage, regardless of gender, matters to me, because it matters to him. It matters to me because it matters to the hundreds of children he will meet and interact with in his life.
I want my son and his peers to grown up in a world where you can have a boyfriend or a girlfriend regardless of your own gender. I want him to grow up with peers who have two mums, or two dads, or a mum and a dad. And I want him to know as he grows that his sexual orientation does not, nor will it ever diminish his value as a person, his right to live a peaceful and happy life, or our love for him as his parents.
I also want him to be raised in a society and a culture, as well as a home, that does not tolerate discrimination. I want him to interect with people who are homosexual without social stigma of ridiculous superstition clouding his mind. I want him to defend everyone’s right to live a safe and happy life, without fear or oppression. And I never want him to see a difference in the value of his intimate relationships and those of his peers.
The vote for equal marriage rights in Ireland breaks significant ground and is worthy of celebration the world over. It is a mammoth step towards the eradication of sanctioned discrimination and the akcknowledgement of basic human rights.
From the land down under, I thank you Ireland, for your bravery, your passion and most of all, your love. Today, you are a beacon to the world and we would do well to follow your light.
tsíocháin agus an grá (peace and love),