Ireland Says 'Yes' to LGBT Marriage Act
NEW DELHI: The streets of Dublin were haunted by a soul on May 23rd. It was the soul of one of it's most famous inhabitants, which as it wandered about, laughed out loud in the face of clergy and the naysayers with a most insolent effrontery. It was the soul of ever youthful Oscar Wilde, also Ireland's most famous gay.
Ireland became the first country in the world to legislate on gay marriage through a public referendum, and got the bill passed which allows marriage between two people of same sex. The results which came were resoundingly lopsided. People voted 2-1 in favour of the same-sex marriage law.
The citizens of Ireland erupted in joy as the counting finished with 62 percent people voted 'Yes' for the law, against 38 percent who voted 'No'.
All but one out of 43 Constituencies voted in favour of the gay marriage law. Even the fear that the results would be aligned on the urban/rural divide, rural being more conservative with respect to gay marriage, were allayed as Ireland voted with as much homogeneity as possible, blunting completely the sharpness of the cleave.
Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton said, "The people of Ireland have struck a massive blow against discrimination.”
She also quoted gay rights Veteran Harvey Milk by saying: "Hope will never be silent.”
A large voters' turnout attributed to youths also played a major role in wringing the result in favour of the LGBT community.
In 1997, during the Good Friday agreement there was a 56% turnout against this year referendum’s 61 %.
This move is being seen as a strong blow to the dominance of catholic values which have pervaded the structural makeup of the country. Papal authorities acknowledged their defeat and erosion of 'faith' among youth towards Church. As Diarmuid Martin, the Archbishop of Dublin said, "I think the Church needs to do a reality check right across the board... Have we drifted away completely from young people ?"
The who's who of gay rights activism descended at the Dublin Castle, the epicentre of revelry, to take part in the historic movement. David Norris, who helped wrench the judgement which decriminalised Homosexuality in 1993 and who's also a world authority on another famous Dubliner, James Joyce, was given a hero like welcome by the masses. He said, "The battle is not over. There are countries throughout Africa and Asia in which it is terribly dangerous to be gay".
A prominent Irish gay rights activist, Rory O'Neill aka Panti Bliss also shared her exultation with the media. She said, "I am drunk on Yes … It’s not that Ireland has changed today, but that Ireland has confirmed the change that we already knew had happened.”
However, the situation for homosexuals still remain grim in the northern border, in Northern Ireland, which is now the only country in the Western Europe to still not have allowed gay marriage.