The testimonies of two men which every voter should see before going out to the polling station in Ireland next Friday.
Keith Mills believes that it’s important for him, as a gay man, to speak out about his belief that children deserve a mother and a father whenever the circumstances of life allow, since too many people are being bullied into silence. He explains that the referendum is not about equality because already, through civil partnerships, we have a means of giving gay couples legal protection and recognition – in a ceremony that is almost identical to civil marriage, right down to saying the words “I do”.
Furthermore, Paddy Manning points out that a gay or lesbian relationship is simply a different thing to a marriage. “Marriage is, at its heart, about children and providing those children with their biological parents. Recognising difference is not discrimination.”
Keith agrees that the referendum is about children “because everyone knows marriage IS almost always about children – and because the government wants to change the section of the Constitution on the family.” But in order to have children, gay men like him either need to adopt or to use surrogacy. Surrogacy, he says, “turns children into commodities, putting adult desires above the rights of children, having babies made to order and wombs for rent.” If the referendum passes, as Mr Justice Kevin Cross, Chairman of the independent Referendum Commission, confirmed last week, it will make it very difficult for Irish law to give preference to motherhood and fatherhood compared with having two parents of the same sex.
A Yes vote pretends there is no “distinction” between the union of two men or two women and the union of a man and a woman. It also says it doesn’t matter if a child is deliberately deprived of either a father or a mother.