Sitting in the studio audience for a TV debate on Ireland’s Marriage Referendum last night in Dublin I could not suppress the sense of a multiple tragedy unfolding before me which this primeval battle induced.
Whatever way this plays out on May 22, it seems that a nemesis awaits us.
If this foolish and careless Government succeeds it will not kill the reality that is marriage. The reality that the word marriage gives institutional form to, that is, the coming together in conjugal union of man and woman, is beyond the manipulative control of governments. They can mess with the word which describes it as much as they like but as long as men and women exit, it will exist.
But this messing by governments with those things that nature designed does have consequences for human beings and their life in society. In this case, the Irish Government will become responsible for the clouding in people’s minds of what marriage really is. This in turn will have consequences for generations to come. This will be the first tragedy.
If the Irish Government drains the word marriage of its true meaning, its essential identity, by describing it as a bond between people regardless of their sex, homosexuals and heterosexuals will suffer equally and the victory which some homosexuals feel they will have won will prove to be, and will be seen to be, as hollow as the arguments now being advanced for it.
For those who understand that the essence of a thing remains the same no matter what we call it, marriage will remain what it is and always was – a lifelong bond between a man and a woman, open, where nature allows, to the begetting of future generations. “A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” For those who think that they have changed the thing because they have changed the name – or turned one thing into another by using the other’s name – there is the tragedy of delusion. This is the second tragedy.
This was the tragedy averted by Solomon who in his wisdom was able to resolve the folly of the woman who sought to relieve her pain of loss by dividing in two the child of her companion. But Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny is no Solomon. He has succumbed to the foolish thinking of a militant group of culture warriors who have led the gay community astray into thinking that access to marriage is just a matter of manipulating language.
If the Irish Government wins this referendum everyone will wake up on the May 24 and find that nature has preserved this thing called marriage. But they will also find that in the futile attempt to meddle with nature they will have a meaningless human artefact posturing as “marriage” in their nation’s Constitution. This sham thing will be bringing with it a myriad of muddy legal complications. Bad laws impact on human lives, some with tragic consequences. There will be numerous personal tragedies as “motherless” and “fatherless” children search for their natural progenitors to try to rescue them from the limbo of those quotation marks. Some will succeed, more will never do so. This is the third tragedy.
And if this chaos is avoided and a “No” victory results, what nemesis awaits us? This will be the nemesis for a bitterly disappointed community which has been misled into thinking that this manipulation of language, spun by a Government which has in turn been manipulated by an international ideological movement backed by millions of dollars – scandalously ignored by a biased national media, – was going to bring it to a haven of happiness and contentment.
The utterly bewildering illusion being fed to people that this is a struggle for equality has been spun so effectively that the consequences of its inevitable evaporation will be tragic. A Government complicit in this charade is a truly bad Government. It is now compounding this crime by declaring that a rejection of their proposal – a proposal which declares that two things which are different from each other are in fact the same – will amount to a disdainful rejection of some of their fellow human beings by the majority of the electorate.
The gay community – as it is called, and isn’t there something wrong with the very idea of segregating people into communities on the basis of their sexuality? – has been deceived into thinking that redefining marriage is a solution to the difficulties they experienced in human societies in the past or present. They have been deceived into thinking that it will in some way compensate for wrongs done to them. It will not and it never do so, because it is a meaningless act. This deceit is just one more tragedy.
The final tragedy has already taken place. When we should be concentrating our efforts on the task – always necessary – of building up the cultivation of real civilizing values in our community we are distracted and divided by this unreal conflict. True equality should be our goal, true values of fraternity and justice should be our objective and not this false synthetic concoction of something that can never really exist.
This horrible and divisive battle, which ideologues have forced on a good-humoured and generally kind-hearted nation, may be leading it into a new – even if as yet low-level – era of civil strife. After last night’s debate, one member of the audience on the “Yes” side came over to the speaker for the “No” side and uttered with uncivil vehemence words of bitter reproach for what he had presented to all, in good faith, for consideration. The producers of the programme – which was rchesrated with exemplary skill and fairness by presenter Claire Byrne and her team, – in a departure from normal procedure before these debates, separated the “Yes” and “No” supporters into separate rooms. “No” participants wondered why, and in fact regretted the segregation and the loss of the chance to mix and share views. But it was a sign of the times.