'Everyone should be able to express their love fully' - Mary McAleese backs Yes vote in same-sex referendum
The former Irish president Mary McAleese has called for a ‘Yes’ vote in the upcoming same sex referendum, saying that everyone has the right for their love “to be recognised at the highest level of Irish society”.
Believing the issue to be a human rights issue at its core, Ms McAleese said the referendum was a chance for Irish adults to have a “huge impact” on the lives of Ireland’s gay children.
“People have been saying [this referendum] is about children… [and] it is. It is a debate about Ireland’s gay children and about their future. In the words of the proclamation, don't we want ‘the children of a nation to be cherished equally?'”
Adding: “I think that we owe those children a huge debt as adults who have opportunities to make choices that impact their lives, to make the right choices - choices that will allow their lives to grow organically, safely and to give them the joy of being full citizens in their own country.”
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The former head of state made her comments to George Hook, in an interview with the Right Hook aired on Monday.
Currently a visiting scholar at Notre Dame University in the United States, Ms McAleese expressed her strong belief that everyone in Ireland should be able to "love someone for life".
“I’m hoping very much, my husband and I are both hoping very much, that it will be passed,” she said.
“The adult children, the children yet unborn, the gay children yet unborn - we want them to be born into a world where if they fall in love with someone they can express that love fully,” she added.
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Referring to her own near-40-year marriage to Martin McAleese, she called for "all of our children - whether they're gay or heterosexual" to be free in Ireland to have their relationship recognised "at the highest level in Irish society".
Asked by George Hook if she believed the Church would ever change its teachings about homosexuals, Ms McAleese predicted it would be forced to "given time."
Describing the words of former Pope Benedict, who called homosexuality ‘intrinsically disordered’, as “rather regrettable”, she said the "sheer weight of medical and psychiatric evidence" had done much to challenged views "formed, you could say, in ignorance".
“They’ve already changed elsewhere and we’ve seen many, many countries now embracing the idea that homosexuality is a perfectly normal human sexual expression."