Thursday 29 September 2016

How will the results of the referendum affect you?

We asked you to tell us how the result in the same-sex marriage referendum will affect you personally.

Published 15/05/2015 | 13:27

May 22nd is the day Irish citizens are being asked to vote on same-sex marriage
May 22nd is the day Irish citizens are being asked to vote on same-sex marriage

There have been many polls taken in advance of the upcoming referendum on same-sex marriage, but we wanted to know how the result will affect the people behind those stats.

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We asked all of our readers how the campaign is currently affecting them, and what their life will be like on May 23rd - either way.

Here are some of the answers we received. All submissions were received on the agreement of anonymity. 

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

'My pride in my country is at stake'

"I've been in a (heterosexual) relationship for over 4 years, and love my Boyfriend very much. We truly believe we will spend the rest of our lives together. On the surface, this referendum shouldn't have any impact on our future - but in my mind it does.

If there is a No, I don't ever want to get married. I couldn't build a life that is protected and celebrated, while other couples live in uncertainty and unfairness. If marriage is not a contract open to everyone, then I don't want to sign it.

A No would make me ashamed to be Irish. No matter how proud of my heritage I may be, I couldn't associate with a country that rejects such a humble request from a corner of society that have seen brutal persecution for so long.

My own happiness, as a woman in a happy, loving relationship; that so happens to be a straight one, is on the line - along with my LGBT peers. My own pride in my country, faith in our welcoming nature, confidence in our abilities to grow and overcome as a country hangs in the balance.

I will wait with my breath held and my eyes brimming until I know the result".

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

'I live my life as a good person'

"As a 52 year old lesbian woman who married my life partner of over 20 years in Vancouver, Canada in 2008, I long for May 23rd.

I want at last to have my marriage recognised here and not reduced to the lowly status of Civil partnership. I want full recognition under the Irish Constitution as an Irish citizen who is exactly the same as any other Irish citizen, as my seven brothers and sisters.

I want the safety and security of knowing that the years we have left ahead of us, will bring us the peace and security of knowing that, at long last, the stigma is erased, that we are accepted, that we are equal and that our security can no longer be undermined or taken away.

I want that for my partner's two children too - that they can hold their heads high and be proud of their Mother and of me as their step Mother.

The run-up to this referendum has been absolute hell for gay people everywhere, and their families. Having your life trotted out and dissected day-in and day-out in the news and media is embarrassing, hurtful, painful and demeaning. Having to put up with the negative reactions and comments, the criticisms and uninformed, heartless, criticisms, comments and cliches from the No-siders is very hard to take.

I do  not want sacramental marriage. I live my life as a good person.  I want to wake up on the 23rd May 2015 to an Ireland where I am just an ordinary married woman, with a family, who is no longer discriminated against.

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

'Insult'

"This referendum will affect homosexual relationships and that's it. To even suggest that it will, in any way, affect anyone else in this country is an insult. 

Voting no will only portray to the children of Ireland that being gay is unacceptable. They have no right to preach about child welfare when they are telling any LGBT children in Ireland that they are not valued as much as straight children. If anything this will only raise the numbers of depression and suicide amongst LGBT children.

I will be embarrassed to say that I'm Irish if this vote does not go through".

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

'It hurts'

I remember when I was in school I was the only out gay person. There were a few others that were gay but were too afraid to come out and leave themselves open to attack. School will always be tough, especially for LGBT youth. I got an awful time from most of the people in my classes. If we had assigned seats some lads would purposefully act up just so they'd be moved away from me... name calling, dirty looks and Chinese whispers.

 A Yes vote in the referendum is not only about marriage, it is about recognizing Gay people as equals, it will send a clear message to every LGBT person in Ireland and that message is "We support you, we recognize you and we promise to treat you equally in the eyes of the Law. You are worth no less than any other person".

It hurts knowing that there's people out there that are actively campaigning against my rights, it's like being back in school all over again, only this time the bullies are large organisations using their money to put me down.

On May 22nd the question we are being asked is more than just Yes or No. It's acceptance vs rejection. Concern vs indifference. Love vs Fear!

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

Can you understand why we feel like second class citizens?

I am 29 years old, gay & in a loving civil partnership since 2012. I knew all my life I was gay, and finally came out to my parents at the age of 18.

The preceeding years were torture with what my family now refer to as the "dark days". I was always top of my class in school but as I began to come to terms with being gay everything changed.

It was the underlying shame and institutional prejudice that I viewed everywhere; the jokes on tv, comments made by friends, stereotypes in movies & state sponsored discrimination of gay relationships. This eats away at a teenager who at that time in their life just wants to be accepted.

I have been watching the Marriage Referendum debates & arguments very closely over the last number of weeks and it truly breaks my heart. I think about those kids/teenagers who right now are coming to terms with being gay and all the trauma & confusion this brings.

 I can picture them listening & absorbing all the negative coverage of gay relationships that our broadcasters are given air-time to in the interest of "balance". And I wonder how deeply this campaign is scarring those children. For our gay children to see senators, teachers, neighbours, clergy all speaking on tv/radio that their future love should not be seen as equal or valuable must be having devastating consequences on their self esteem & general well being.

For me, to have my relationship finally recognised as equal in value will be the beginning of the end of homophobia in Ireland. People have been afraid to use that word in this campaign but I experience it every day. I am in a civil partnership for 3 years and yet I know I can't hold my partners hand walking down the street without comments or sneers. We dare not hold hands at a cinema as this will always draw funny looks.

For someone considering voting NO, or if you are currently married in a straight relationship, I ask you please just think about that for a minute - imagine not been able to express in public the love you have for the most important person in your world. How hurtful & degrading would that be? Can you understand why we feel like second class citizens?

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

'Venomous undertones'

Ashamedly, for quite a while, I didn’t spare a thought to the upcoming referendum, as in my mind; I saw marriage as some far-off notion that would be accessible to me by the time I sought it. Yet seeing those speaking on behalf of a side that perpetuates a future without equal access to marriage shook me to the core. Frankly, propagating a future that wasn’t theirs.

The future of Ireland belongs to our youth, it doesn’t belong to those who have been afforded access to civil equality all their life. Our LGBT youth deserve the protection provided to our peers.

Coming out was one of the hardest things I have ever done, even with my luck of having unwavering support from those closest to me. If I were of school-going age, at a time in my life of great confusion, the venomous undertones to this debate would have destroyed me.

A success on May 22nd is a huge move towards ending institutional and societal homophobia.

I’m hoping for a resounding YES in eight days time, to provide solace and hope to our young LGBT citizens, and because I cannot wait to kiss my boyfriend for the first time as an equal citizen.   

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

'Nothing prepares you for abusive comments'

Earlier this year I began to speak publicly about my sexuality . This for me was some transformation for someone who spent my twenties in denial of who I was. I am now aged 50.

I am currently very involved in the various Yes campaigns that are going on locally. I have “come out” to more strangers in the course of canvassing, something I would never have thought possible just a few short years ago. Thankfully insulting comments are rare but when they do occur they are very hurtful.

I have canvassed in 3 election campaigns previously, once when I went for election myself, but nothing really prepares you for abusive comments directed at your sexuality. It cuts to the core of who you are and totally undermines you. Even something as simple as a No voter saying to me recently: “they have civil partnerships already don’t they?” can be difficult to take for a number of reasons.

Firstly the person in question didn’t realize he was speaking to one of the “they” people he was referring to. Secondly because I don’t fit into the stereotypical definition of what a gay person looks like, he was effectively undermining the person he was talking to without even realizing it.

Society has changed completely since I was a teenager. The acceptance of people allows me to be myself. Me being myself allows others to be themselves. This legislative change will complement changes in society and lead to greater acceptance of gay people. On a personal level it actually mirrors my own growth and freedom to be the person I am destined to be.

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

'Relieved it's over'

I will be devastated of this referendum is lost.  I am surprised at how emotional it has been and how many a times a day I well up or shed a tear or feel the fear of what it will be like if it is lost. I expected to be passionate but I am actually very upset by it all.

I think some of the devastation comes from the pain and suffering that I have experienced in a deeply catholic family who have not been able to accept my lack of faith and my choices such as having children before being married or having a civil wedding.  I know the hurt that exclusion and not been accepted has caused me.I don't want my children to grow up in the same world I did nor do I want it for my family or friends.

I wish it was over now and I am sick of listening to deeply hurtful things from people who have nothing to lose and will move on to the next anti-equality issue.

If it passes I will be relived its over but I don't think I'll be that happy - it is going to take a while to get over the bile that we have had to endure and the free ride that the media have given to the No side's fear tactics.

(Submit yours by emailing social@independent.ie)

 

Indpendent.ie wants to hear from real people on how the result will affect them personally.

Email your story to social@independent.ie to feature.

Independent.ie invites all citizens of Ireland to submit, regardless of orientation or voting preference. 

Indpendent.ie wishes to paint a balanced picture of what May 23rd will look like for all Irish citizens.

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