Forget the rainbow – this is the new flag of convenience

Banner of the ‘poly-pride’ brigade

Who said this would not happen? Of course, it was inevitable. But who thought it would only take four days?

Time magazine reported yesterday that on Tuesday, Nathan Collier went to the Yellowstone County Courthouse in his hometown of Billings, Montana, to register to get married to his partner Christine. The problem? Collier has been married to wife Victoria since 2000. And under Montana law, bigamy is outlawed except for faith reasons; Collier is not marrying Christine and Victoria due to his religious beliefs, making his marriage license illegal under bigamy laws.

It is the march to polygamy, polyandry and polyamory. The optimists among us now have to take the line – to preserve our optimism – that all this will have to get much worse before it gets better. Someone said last week that the only way out of the chaos which the Irish referendum – destroying marriage as we knew it – was to descend into deeper chaos. Macbeth summed it up for us when he said:

All causes shall give way: I am in blood

Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more,

Returning were as tedious as go o’er.

The Montana trio, ‘Time’ tells us, argue that under Friday’s landmark US Supreme Court recognizing same-sex marriage across the country as legal, their polygamous relationship should be legally recognized and guaranteed the same rights as heterosexual and homosexual marriages. “If you read the justice’s statement, it applies to polygamists,” Collier said.

He’s referring to the dissent by Chief Justice John Roberts, who argued that the reasoning for giving same-sex couples the right to marry “would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.”

Roberts got it right of course and puts to shame the silly posturing of Judge Anthony Kennedy.

This thruple are using the Supreme Court ruling to argue their case and we can only wonder what torturous reasoning the lawyers are going to use to try and wriggle their way out of the predicament they now find themselves in. They may succeed in holding the line for a while but eventually their faulty ramparts will collapse and they will have to cave in to poly-whatever-you-want.

County clerks initially denied to give a marriage license upon learning that Collier’s marriage with Victoria had not been dissolved. But the clerk returned afterwards, saying that they would refer to the county attorney’s office before making a decision. The county’s chief civil litigator is looking to have a formal response by early next week.

Victimhood, as was the case with the relentless campaign for gay marriage, is the posture of choice in this campaign as well. Collier, Victoria, and Christine claim that the way they were treated at the courthouse made the family feel “violated.” He said, “We feel entitled for a legal legitimacy and for [the Yellowstone County Courthouse] to deny this is a violation of our civil rights … We feel the marriage equality law applies to us.” Given the Constitution of the land as it is now interpreted by its highest court they are right.

Collier says that all his family seeks to do is be legally recognized and not live in fear of prosecution anymore. If that means that he can bring polygamous relationships to the national conversation, Collier says he’d be willing to be arrested or sue the state if his license gets denied. “Ours is a happy, functional, loving family,” he said. “I’m not trying to redefine marriage. I’m not forcing anyone to believe in polygamy. We’re only defining marriage for us. We just want legitimacy.”

So what’s the agenda. More marriage “redefinition”, of course. Watch this space.

Life imitating ‘True Detective’ – no evidence of loving and nurturing here

The new series of HBO’s True Detective, which has just started in the United States, seems to be putting a serious damper on all the faux optimism about love being generated by the gay lobby there in recent days. Writing the majority opinion for Obergefell v. Hodges, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that marriage is a central institution that affirms an “enduring bond” and provides “loving and nurturing homes” for children. The petitioners, Kennedy argued, only wanted to build on this central social reality, making their appeal from a deeply held respect for its “recognition, stability, and predictability.”

That’s not the way it looks in True Detective, according to critic Mathew Becklo in Aleteia. In fact it seems the show makes Kennedy sound like one of the naivest men on our planet.

Becklo focuses on the picture of the venerable institution of marriage – and its raison d’etre, the family – being presented in the series. If Oscar Wilde’s paradox is even half true – that ‘life
imitates art far more than art imitates life’ – we are all in for a bad time.

About marriage and its present discontents, Becklo refers us to Ross Douthat‘s analysis of our predicament where he points out the irony that while the “conservative case” for marriage’s centrality is winning in court, the “liberationist case” against marriage’s centrality is winning the culture. While 65% of the Silent generation, 48% of Boomers, and 36% of Gen X were married between ages 18 and 32, for Millennials the number is at a meager 26% and falling. The percentage of unmarried births (40.6%) has hit a record high, while the birth rate for women in their early twenties (83.1 births per 1,000 women) has hit a record low. In short, people are opting for more open-ended family structures and fewer children, a principle which lent support to a new form for marriage, but inevitably causes it to feed back into the decline of marriage overall.

It remains to be seen, Becklo concludes, whether millennials can buck the trend and restore the nuclear family to something like “centrality.” In the meantime, a show like True Detective reveals the tyranny of this liberation, a wider and stronger current that sets the parameters for and subsumes whatever new family models we construct to outlast us. The characters all look depressed and burdened by this new rule, and you can see the desire for truth still flickering inside – but in Vinci, (the fictional urbanization where the show is set) there is no oasis.

If that makes for an unnerving show, so be it. My strong suspicion is we get the entertainment we deserve.

Maybe we get the life we deserve as well.

Read the full Aleteia review here.

There is great reason for hope

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that same-sex “marriage” is a constitutional right will have sweeping and unpredictable consequences for U.S. jurisprudence, cultural norms and religious freedom.

Catholic leaders, legal scholars and marriage experts reacted with dismay to the landmark ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges and three related cases, the NCR reports.

But they also expressed resolve that the decision would not discourage their efforts to preach and teach the truth about marriage and to advance respect for the institution as a union of one man and one woman committed to the care and education of children.

We should all be glad to hear that. They will suffer for it but hopefully that will not deter them.

Dawn Stefanowicz is one of six adult children of gay parents who filed amicus briefs with the US Supreme Court, asking the Court to respect the authority of citizens to keep the original definition of marriage: a union between one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, so that children may know and may be raised by their biological parents. They ignored her – so now she is warning United States citizens, as well as Irish Republic citizens, to prepare for what will follow: the erosion of their religious freedoms.

She lives in Canada, where same-sex marriage was federally mandated in 2005.

I am the daughter of a gay father who died of AIDS, she writes. I described my experiences in my book: Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting. Over fifty adult children who were raised by LGBT parents have communicated with me and share my concerns about same-sex marriage and parenting. Many of us struggle with our own sexuality and sense of gender because of the influences in our household environments growing up.

We have great compassion for people who struggle with their sexuality and gender identity—not animosity. And we love our parents. Yet, when we go public with our stories, we often face ostracism, silencing, and threats.

I want to warn America to expect severe erosion of First Amendment freedoms. The consequences have played out in Canada for ten years now, and they are truly Orwellian in nature and scope.

In Canada, freedoms of speech, press, religion, and association have suffered greatly in the aftermath of its federal mandate. Because of legal restrictions on speech, if you say or write anything considered “homophobic” (including, by definition, anything questioning same-sex marriage), you could face discipline, termination of employment, or prosecution by the government. Stefanowicz spells it all out in detail here.

So where do we stand – the Irish, the Americans, the French (their next government may have the courage and the wisdom to reverse the Socialist folly of Hollande), the British? Life is certainly not going to be easier for the community of all those of any faith or no faith who have some inkling of, and try to live by, the laws of nature properly identified and defined.

In the end of the day what happened yesterday in the US is that one more State has moved one step further in removing its support from the community of Faith and Reason and conceded ground to the community of emotion, feeling and pleasure. The laws that some states are now making for mankind are disastrous and will have disastrous consequences for individuals and for society in years to come.

Those who foresee the disasters threatening our civilization have now to seek to protect and save as many as they can from the impending catastrophe – and I am not the only one to use these terms. The State is making it more difficult for us to do this – but our ancestors 2000 years ago, and the Jewish people before that were up to it so we can do it also.

We have to continue loving the victims of these disasters – even though they may be complicit in what is being inflicted on them and us. But we must also try to teach what is wrong in all this. Just now it seems that it must begin, and begin with great hope and optimism, in each family. Then those families must help and give strength to each other and organize themselves in whatever way seems best and most effective to sustain this strength and purpose.

Friends, a husband and wife, have just returned from Brussels where they attended a conference on family. The stories of the fantastic work being done all over Europe are, they say, amazing and really encouraging. There is great reason for hope. The dramatic pace of change has been a massive wake up call.

All this has to be seen as an opportunity to deepen and grow stronger. Every Christian among us should remember what things must have looked like from the Cross and from around the Cross thirty-three years into the first millennium.

(Earlier post of 13.16 updated at 17.38.)

Marriage is dead. Long live Marriage!

It’s over in Ireland. The Irish people, by something close to a 60 – 40 majority popular vote have redefined marriage out of existence in their State Constitution and have replaced it with a shallow charade which they will now call marriage.

Marriage however, that primeval bond between a male and a female, still exists – and will exist so long as a man and a woman come together, as did Adam and Eve, to beget children. Long live marriage.

But the reality now is that the future of natural marriage, the conjugal union of man and woman, in the story of mankind will be even more fraught with difficulty than it has been in the past. It has never had an easy passage – either because of the folly and selfishness of individuals or the pandering of their public representatives to that same folly and selfishness. The first big compromise on the part of the latter was divorce. Now we have this. Ireland’s story is just one piece of a global jigsaw – symbolic for all sorts of reasons, but still just a piece. The New York Times now triumphantly declares that Ireland has advanced to the vanguard of this deconstructive process.

Ireland’s electorate has now robbed natural marriage of its constitutional protection in the Irish State. The laws relating to family, children, and all those things which the State’s endorsement of marriage framed and supported are essentially cut adrift in a sea which will be stormy, treacherous and at times destructive of society’s common good and the well-being of individuals. Because of this foolish action, which they thought was just a matter of changing a name, broadening a definition to include something else, they are complicit in an act which is an attempt to change human nature itself. As one opponent of the decision described it, “grotesque nonsense

Watch this space.

How did this all happen? We know the short-term story well. For an American and global perspective read After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s. This was a book published in 1989 by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen which argues that after the gay liberation phase of the 1970s and 1980s, gay rights groups should adopt more professional public relations techniques to convey their message. This they did with a success which all marvel at. The blueprint was then applied to Ireland

For the Irish story, read how Atlantic Philanthropies promoted and funded the infiltration of Ireland’s state and charitable agencies to achieve yesterday’s referendum victory.

But the origin of this social crisis – John Waters, Irish newspaper columnist of the first rank, described it as a social catastrophe – goes back centuries, indeed almost a millennium. Essentially it all began when sentiment and human emotions began to gain the upper hand over human reason.

In The Allegory of Love, C. S. Lewis would have us believe, very convincingly, that a radical shift in human consciousness and culture began with the sudden appearance of what we call “courtly love” in 11th century Languedoc. Lewis explored this theme and thesis in this book, one of his masterworks, perhaps his greatest.

The dominant sentiment he explores is love. But it is love of a highly specialised sort, “whose characteristics may be enumerated as Humility, Courtesy, Adultery, and the Religion of Love.” This all began with the love poetry specific to that time and that place, the love poetry of the Troubadours. The characteristics of this sentiment, Lewis tells us, and its systematic coherence throughout this poetry as a whole, “are so striking that they easily lead to a fatal misunderstanding. We are tempted to treat ‘courtly love’ as a mere episode in literary history – an episode that we have finished with…”

But we have not finished with it. He sees an unmistakable continuity connecting these love songs with the love poetry of the later Middle Ages, and thence, through Petrarch and many others, with that of the present day. If the thing at first escapes our notice, this is because we are so familiar with the erotic tradition of modern Europe that we mistake it for something natural and universal and therefore do not inquire into its origins. As Lewis says, it seems to us natural that love should be the commonest theme of serious imaginative literature. He looks back at literature preceding this southern French explosion, from the earlier Middle Ages back into antiquity, and finds that “what we took for ‘nature’ is really a special state of affairs, which will probably have an end, and which certainly had a beginning in eleventh-century Provence.” He continues:

It seems – or it seemed to us till lately – a natural thing that love (under certain conditions) should be regarded as a noble and ennobling passion: it is only if we imagine ourselves trying to explain this doctrine to Aristotle, Virgil, St. Paul, or the author of Beowulf, that we become aware how far from natural it is…

French poets, in the eleventh century, discovered or invented, or were the first to express, that

romantic species of passion which English poets were still writing about in the nineteenth. They effected a change which has left no corner of our ethics, our imagination, or our daily life untouched…

Compared with this revolution the Renaissance is a mere ripple on the surface of literature. There can be no mistake about the novelty of romantic love: our only difficulty is to imagine in all its bareness the mental world that existed before its coming – to wipe out of our minds, for a moment, nearly all that makes the food both of modern sentimentality and modern cynicism.

The death of marriage, as we knew it in our language and our laws, came late in the evolution of our culture, infected as it was, slowly but surely by this creeping dominance of sentimentality over reason. First came the advance of divorce. Then a sizeable proportion of couples abandoned marriage in the name of love – which was all that mattered to them. Cohabitation became a new norm. Then came the demand for social acceptance of homosexual love. Its lobby demanded that marriage be redefined to provide them with society’s badge of acceptance – even while society’s concept of what marriage really is was already in its death throes as a result of earlier and successive redefinitions.

To come to grips with and understand this long revolutionary process, Lewis tells us that we need to

conceive a world emptied of that ideal of ‘happiness’ – a happiness grounded on successful romantic love – which still supplies the motive of our popular fiction. In ancient literature love seldom rises above the levels of merry sensuality or domestic comfort, except to be treated as a tragic madness, an ἄτη which plunges otherwise sane people (usually women) into crime and disgrace. Such is the love of Medea, of Phaedra, of Dido; and such the love from which maidens pray that the gods may protect them.

At the other end of the scale we find the comfort and utility of a good wife acknowledged:

Odysseus loves Penelope as he loves the rest of his home and possessions, and Aristotle rather grudgingly admits that the conjugal relation may now and then rise to the same level as the virtuous friendship between good men. But this has plainly very little to do with ‘love’ in the modern or medieval sense; and if we turn to ancient love-poetry proper, we shall be even more disappointed.

Plato will not be reckoned an exception by those who have read him with care… Those who call themselves Platonists at the Renaissance may imagine a love which reaches the divine without abandoning the human and becomes spiritual while remaining also carnal; but they do not find this in Plato. If they read it into him, this is because they are living, like ourselves, in the tradition which began in the eleventh century.

So what has all this to do with the Irish referendum? This: the Irish “Yes to Equality” rode home to victory on the on the shoulders of this very same “love” which emanated from the songs of the Troubadours of the 11th century. It wasn’t that the young and old who voted Yes to “love and equality” had been reading courtly love poetry. No, they had been fed on the artefacts of 18th and 19th century romanticism, morphing in the 20th and 21st century into a voraciously consumed diet of pop culture expressed through sentimental Hollywood movies and ultra-sentimental pop songs – not to mention soap-operas and the chic lit of Maeve Binchy, Cecelia Aherne et al.

The current West End production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel is moving to Dublin for a very short season next month. I watched some clips of the 1950s Hollywood version the night before the referendum. I love the show. But while watching it I had premonitions of what was going to happen the next day. How could any generation, I thought, fed on this and much inferior sentimental material do otherwise that vote for “love” over all the other values at stake.

The helplessly smitten Julie (Shirley Jones) sang:

Common sense may tell you

That the ending will be sad

And now’s the time to break and run away

But what’s the use of wond’rin’

If the ending will be sad

He’s your fella and you love him

There’s nothing more to say.

There is nothing more to say, for the moment. This excepted: the crown is in the hands of a usurper but the King lives, and always will, albeit in the shadows. The marriage of man and woman is as indestructible as is human nature itself. No tyranny, not even a democratic one, can destroy it.

Battle for natural marriage lost in Ireland – next up, battle for freedom of conscience

Just after mid-day in Ireland today the Iona Institute, leader of one of the voluntary campaign groups fighting against the redefinition of marriage by Irish Government and the entire political establishment in the country, effectively conceded victory to its opponents. Their statement said:

We would like to congratulate the Yes side on winning such a handsome victory in the marriage referendum. They fought a very professional campaign that in truth began long before the official campaign started.

For our part, The Iona Institute is proud to have helped represent the many hundreds of thousands of Irish people who would otherwise have had no voice in this referendum because all of the political parties backed a Yes vote.

A formal announcement from the count is expected to be made in Dublin Castle by mid afternoon.

The Institute thanked the thousands of volunteers up and down the country who worked day and night to try and secure a No vote.

Commenting on the outcome, David Quinn said: “We believe a fought a good campaign. It was always going to be an uphill battle. However, we helped to provide a voice to the hundreds of thousands of Irish people who did vote No. The fact that no political party supported them must be a concern from a democratic point of view.

He concluded: “Going forward, we will continue to affirm the importance of the biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood. We hope the Government will address the concerns voters on the No side have about the implications for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.”

Veteran sociologist on the absurdity of redefining marriage in the Irish Constitution

Trinity College Dublin


By Anthony Coughlan

Since history began the institution of marriage between men and women has existed in all societies to ensure that the next generation, children, are brought up wherever practicable by the mothers and fathers who are responsible for conceiving them, until those children reach adulthood.

This is ABC in any sociology textbook. Male-female marriage is the basis of the natural links between the generations. It antedates the great religions. No society anywhere, apart from a few in recent years in Latin America and Europe, has regarded marriage as covering homosexuals, because lesbian and gay couples cannot conceive or produce children.

What we are being asked to do on Friday is to amend Article 41 of the Constitution to change marriage and the family from the male-female-based institution that it has always been understood to be in Ireland’s Constitution and laws, into something profoundly different.


If people vote Yes it means that henceforth in Ireland families based on so-called “marriage” between two males or two females – who are incapable as couples of producing children – will be included among families that are stated in our Constitution as being  “the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society . . . a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights antecedent and superior to all positive law. . . the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State.”

That is a ludicrous proposition, as UCC Professor John A. Murphy has pointed out in the Irish Times.

If we agree to write such an absurdity into the Irish Constitution, it will surely make this country and those in our political class who are responsible for it, into an international laughing stock … And deservedly so.

There are some 198 States in the world. Fewer than one-tenth of them, 17 I understand, have introduced same-sex marriage – all of them by Parliamentary vote or Court order.

Writing same-sex marriage into one’s State Constitution however is permanent, irreversible and likely to have many unforeseen, unintended and unwanted consequences. No other country has done that.

A MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE WAY OF DOING JUSTICE to the 1-2% of the population who are permanently homosexual without transforming the nature of marriage for the 98-99% who are not, would be to give recognition in the Constitution to civil partnerships, which is not the case at present.

Such an obvious way of being fair to our homosexual fellow-citizens does not seem to have been considered by the Government in its rush to push through homosexual “marriage” without any teasing out of its likely complex consequences in a Green Paper or White Paper beforehand.

If Irish voters transform the nature of marriage in the Constitution by voting Yes on Friday they will be endowing gay and lesbian couples with exactly the same constitutional rights to “procreate”, to “found” a family and to have children as opposite-sex couples have.

How can two men “found” a family?

Gay and lesbian couples can only exercise their new constitutional right to “procreate as a family” by the use of eggs or sperm donated by others and the use of surrogate mothers who are willing to “rent out” their wombs to others for nine months at a time.

That is why surrogacy is a relevant issue. It is not an invention, as Yes-side people assert.

Surrogacy means more children being brought up without links to their genetic mothers. It means more exploitation of poor women in poor countries for the benefit of rich people.

Surrogacy is unregulated in Ireland now, but if we change the Constitution homosexual couples will be able to claim it in the Courts as essential to the exercise of their new constitutional rights to procreate and to found families as couples – on the ground of “equality”.

This is presumably the reason why the Government wants to get voters to change the Constitution first, and thereby clear a constitutional path to facilitating surrogacy for LGBT couples by ordinary statute law later.


One of the many unconsidered consequences of voting to change the Constitution is that it would alter the legal-political effect of the first Lisbon Treaty Protocol, which the Government used to persuade Irish people to ratify the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, after they had rejected it in 2008.

The Lisbon Treaty, which establishes the EU Constitution, gives the EU the power to lay down human rights standards as a matter of supranational law across its 28 Member States. Article 9 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights allows for same-sex marriage and the right “to found a family” on that basis.

As it stands, Ireland’s Lisbon Treaty Protocol is an insurmountable legal barrier to supranational EU law on marriage, the family and education across the EU. If we remove that barrier by changing the Constitution ourselves, we clear the way for EU law on same-sex marriage in all EU countries by decision of the EU Court of Justice in due time.

Ireland would thus become a bridgehead in the EU for the powerful pharmaceutical companies that make up the donor-assisted human reproduction industry and the accompanying lucrative surrogacy business in America and Europe.

Can American money buy an Irish referendum? That is the question put in an Irish Times article (and further afield) last week under that title.

In it we were informed how key elements of the Yes campaign – Marriage Equality, the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network(GLEN), and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, have received some $17 million in recent years from the American foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, to help transform the position of marriage in the Irish Constitution.

The taxpayer-funded Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission(IHREC), the State’s official human rights body, wrongly advised the Government, the political parties and the general public that there is a right to same-sex marriage under the European Convention on Human Rights, even though the Court which interprets the Convention has laid down in the Hamalainen v.Finland case that there is no such right.

It turns out that the IHREC too got €2 million from Atlantic Philanthropies.

It has been calculated from Atlantic’s own web-site that this single American foundation invested €735 million in Irish projects in the past 13 years, of which €25 million has been devoted to agencies promoting change in the area of LBGT interests.

It is clear from its web-site also that the Board of this US-based body has had intimate relations with the Government and has determinedly exerted that influence in recent years to change Irish social policy  and the Irish Constitution as regards same-sex marriage. The money it provided has been responsible for the systematic lobbying of politicians of all parties on this matter.

We were also told last week that the withdrawal of Government funding of pre-marriage courses by the Catholic charity Accord, is mere coincidence. Then the next day we learned that the Government agency Tusla, which finances Accord, has just received €8 million from the same Atlantic Philanthropies. The coincidences get more curious.

Whether they are aware of it or not, it looks very much as if the key bodies on the Yes-side mentioned have become outriders for US-based Big Pharma, the American social media companies that are cheerleaders for this issue, and the accompanying gender-neutral ideology which seeks to legitimate same-sex marriage across Europe.

If voters change the Constitution on Friday the Irish State will become an ideological flag-bearer in the EU for the powerful economic interests involved in the donor-assisted human reproduction industry and the lucrative international surrogacy business that is its complement.

Worth mentioning in conclusion is that if people vote Yes it will become constitutionally impossible for future Irish public policy to support or favour male-female couples and their children in any way over the “families” of homosexuals.

That is what constitutional and legal “equality” will have to mean.

The new constitutional position of marriage and the family will then have to be taught in our schools, at least in civics classes.

THIS IN TURN IS LIKELY TO CAUSE FAR MORE PAINFUL CONFUSION REGARDING SEXUAL IDENTITY and orientation among vulnerable adolescent young people in the future than is the case at present or has been in the past.

Voters feel that they are being pressurized into voting Yes in order to do the decent thing by homosexuals.

They are told they should feel guilty by not voting for “equality” when the Constitution provides that all citizens are already equal before the law.

They are being deceived and misled by many people who should know better.

IRISH VOTERS SHOULD HAVE THE COURAGE OF FREE CITIZENS, THOUGHTFUL LIBERALS AND TRUE REPUBLICANS and give the nonsense that is currently being thrown at them from all sides a firm “No”.

The State can then take the creative social policy initiative of putting civil partnership into the Irish Constitution, setting a good international example in doing that.

That would give affectional shared-domicile relations between same-sex couples, whether homosexual, platonic friends or siblings who desire such, full constitutional recognition, while leaving marriage and the marriage-based family as it has always been.

But for that to happen voters must say No to same-sex “marriage” first.


My views on marriage are not religiously based, but are grounded rather in the ABCs of sociology and anthropology. I do not belong to any of the No-side groups on this matter.

I have however taught social policy at TCD for over 30 years, and dealt a lot with family law and public policy on family issues over that time.

I have nothing personal to gain by giving my views on this issue.

I do so only because as a social science professional I believe that Irish voters will be making a mistake which many will come to regret if they vote on Friday to transform fundamentally the character of marriage and the family based on marriage in their State Constitution. No other country has done this.

Irish social policy can easily do justice to the interests of LGBT people by building upon Civil Partnership and putting that into the Constitution in some future referendum, without transforming the nature of marriage for everyone else in this one.

I set out my reasons for holding this view in the article above.

With reference to the point in the article about American money being used to buy an Irish referendum, I understand that Mr Chuck Feeney, who did outstanding work for the Irish Peace Process in the 1990s, has had no say for years in the funding decisions of the Board of the Atlantic Philanthropies foundation.

(John) Anthony Coughlan is Associate Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Work and Social Policy in Trinity College Dublin.

What will they do?


I know enough young people who see through the Government’s fallacious “equality” spin to save me from total despair about the apparent incapacity of under-thirties to discern this deception. But it is a hard call.

People have equal rights because they share the same human nature, not because they share the same capacities – which they very evidently do not. The rights which they have to participate in some of the joys of life depend on their capacities, not on their equality as citizens, or their common human dignity. If I cannot sing more than one note it makes little sense for me to protest that I am being denied equality if I fail to make it into the local choral society. Okay, that’s not an exact analogy. I suppose I have a right to form a choir of tone-deaf people if that pleases me. But it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

Love – as an emotional experience, which is the kind of love everyone seems to be taking about in the context of Ireland’s referendum next Friday, – is not in law a requirement for a valid marriage. Marriages exist without this emotional love, and always have done. Marriages may even exist without the deeper love of selfless commitment. The may not be considered the ideal, but they are still marriages without it. What is the essential element in marriage, what is that which consummates it? In other words, what is that which makes it a real valid marriage? It is what we call the marriage act. That act is only possible between one man and one woman.

In today’s Sunday Times, Conor Brady, former editor of the Irish Times, is posing the question that everyone should at least be asking themselves.

We are forced into a crude choice. A ‘yes’ vote will be hailed as generous and inclusive, but it will subvert the meaning of language. It will redefine an institution that has been fundamental to society down the ages, and it will purport to hold that biological differences mean nothing. Conversely a ‘no’ vote will be interpreted as discriminatory and an endorsement of inequality. Presented with these alternatives, each voter has to choose what seems to be the lesser evil. A great many people, including myself, have yet to decide what that may be.

Bruce Arnold, in today’s Sunday Business Post says “A yes vote will bring irrational chaos into the Constitution”

“Ireland has been told that ‘Same Sex Marriage” is a human right. No nation’s constitution, no international human rights convention has accepted this”. This debate, he adds, “has been bedeviled by emotional and even hysterical demands for an empty ‘equality’ for some, with no consideration given to the consequences for others, least of all for children”.

Add to this the apparent bewilderment of University College Cork’s Emeritus Professor of History, John A. Murphy, voiced last week in the Irish Times.

Thus, if the referendum is passed, Article 41, heretofore unambiguously and exclusively heterosexual, will also recognise a homosexual couple “as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society . . . a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights , antecedent and superior to all positive law”. Moreover such a couple will be guaranteed protection by the State “as the necessary basis of social order and as indispensable to the welfare of the Nation and the State” (Article 1.2).

Because I reject this grotesque nonsense, I will be voting No.

That the bulk of a whole generation has found it impossible to see these distinctions is bewildering and – almost – brings one to the point of despair. That the future of our world might be in the hands of people who cannot see this is truly worrying.

Please, please convince me that I am not seeing unfold before me what I think see. Surely millennials, so-called generation Y, on which so much depends, will show us that they are capable of more than blind and blinding emotion, surely they will show us that enough of them are capable of reasoning and assure us of our future.

Oranges, cherries and equality

For many of a certain generation in Ireland oranges are a special fruit. They bring back a memory from their schooldays – to an essay in the prose anthology on their English literature course. It was A.A. Milne’s short dissertation on this tasty fruit – entitled “Golden Fruit”.

Today, in our very confused way of thinking about equality we would probably proscribe rather than prescribe this quirky little essay if anyone ever suggested that it might be put back on the school curriculum. You see, it discriminates. It tells us that for A.A. Milne – he of Winnie the Pooh – “of the fruits of the year I give my vote to the orange” and concludes his first paragraph by saying that “Bread and butter, beef and mutton, eggs and bacon, are not more necessary to an ordered existence than the orange”. Heavy discrimination indeed.

But don’t get him wrong. He values other fruits and puts the wonderful little cherry second only to the orange. But he does make a choice – although for many the cherry’s pleasures will be their thing. For others it will be the ultra-healthy banana, the fruit that they say has everything.

However, the big problem with all this is that we are discriminating between things when we should, by virtue of post-modern ideology, be treating them all as equal – and equality understood as signifying that there is not an iota of difference between them.

They are equal in one sense, in that they are all fruits. They are not equal insofar as they are each their own sweet, juicy, somewhat bitter thing respectively. By virtue of those differences we treat them differently. We peel and orange. Try peeling a cherry and you will look rather silly. Some people eat their kiwis, skin and all. Others prefer not to. Try eating a banana without removing its jacket and you will know all about it.

And so to marriage. The most fundamental bond between us all in this world should be love – and there are, thankfully, some blessed people among us who truly do love everyone. But if they do, they do so in an ordered way and discriminate between each of those they love according to their nature and needs. The expression of their love follows on that discrimination in ways appropriate to each – loving their husband or wife in one way, their children in another, close friends in another and their neighbours in yet another. Discrimination is not a dirty word. It is a product of human reasoning. The dirt comes if the particular outcome is unkind, unjust and unreasonable.

The love of two people of the same sex can probably have the same emotional intensity as that between couples of the opposite sex. When, however, it is sexually expressed there is no parallel between the potential biological consequences of the two. Both may have a powerful unitive force but only one has the potential for procreation of the species. This makes all the difference and demands that we distinguish between them, for the sake of individuals and for the good of society.

This differentiation is not based on what we might call an “equalitative” discrimination. It is, however, a difference which we will ignore at our cost. If our language ignores these realities by calling the formal recognition which societies give to each by the same name of “marriage”, we will cripple our intelligence and our capacity to think reasonably about things, and these things in particular.

Oranges are not the only fruit, as Jeanette Winterson reminded us. Despite A.A. Milne’s expressed preference for them, they are not even necessarily the best fruit, but if we insist on calling cherries oranges what kind of pickle are we all going end up in?

The destruction of marriage is only a half-way house for gender ideologists

Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick warns that if the Irish referendum on marriage is passed, there could be legal challenges to school text books.

Of course there will be. It will be their next target.

Does anyone doubt that education is where they hope to have their final victory in the battle for a genderless society. This battle is not about the rights of gay people. It is a doom-laden vision of human nature held by ideologists who think that by controlling language and thought they can change human nature itself. A “yes” vote is not a vote for gay people’s rights. The gender ideologues are lying when they say it is.

A “No” vote is a vote for the preservation of our sense of what it is to be human. End of story.


Overcooking the “Equality” cake?

Ireland is now in the second last week of its liberal establishment’s tiresome campaign to get the country to radically change its understanding of marriage as an institution naturally fitted to the conjugal relationship between a man and a woman. All the opinion polls are still pointing to a triumph for them. But there are warnings of hubris. This morning’ mass-circulation Sunday Independent carries that warning in a no-holds-barred column by one of the country’s more open-minded journalists and TV hosts, Brendan O’Connor.

The Yes campaign, he muses, must be very nervous looking at what just happened in the UK. Everybody knew what the result in the UK election was going to be. Every poll was in agreement. Neck and neck. Hung parliament. Weeks of manoeuvring to try and create a Government. Everybody agreed. And, as usual, when everyone agrees so wholeheartedly on something, they were all wrong. The media was wrong, the polls were wrong; the whole establishment got it wrong.

The Yes side must be wondering this weekend if the same could be true here. What if the polls are wrong? What if the media is wrong? What if the whole political establishment has got this one wrong? On Friday morning, Antony Worrall Thomson, of all people, pointed out that a lot of Tory voters are his age and they tend not to admit their intentions in advance, saving the truth instead for the privacy of the ballot box. And lets face it, being a No voter in this country is even more shameful that being a Tory in the UK. So the likelihood is a lot more people are lying about their voting intentions in the upcoming referendum. And who could blame them?

O’Connor goes on to catalogue what might at first have looked like winning strokes by the Yes campaign – Twitter et al calling for a Yes vote, massive media support, 100% party political approval – but which reflection might suggest could turn out to be a poisonous concoction. He also mentions the abusive treatment of the opposite side but does not talk about public revulsion at the denial of freedom of expression which their tearing down of No posters is provoking

A friend of mine visited his barber yesterday. The barber told him that he had a few young people in with him earlier, potentially Yes voters, who spoke of their disgust at such hostile, negative and undemocratic tactics.

The thing about Irish people, O’Connor says, is that they don’t like being told what to think. They don’t like being told what to think by the media. They don’t like being told what to think by politicians. And they certainly don’t like being told what to think by the bosses of tech companies. It’s the kind of thing that is bound to get people’s backs up.

The No campaigners can only hope that the Yes campaigners do not read O’Connor’s warning and change their tactics to a more democratic one. Keep the own goals coming and they will be more than happy.

O’Connor’s full article can be read here.