Tuesday 25 October 2016

How can one vote for an equality where none is possible?

Published 11/04/2015 | 02:30

Irish voters will decide on same-sex marriage on May 22
Irish voters will decide on same-sex marriage on May 22

I've finally plucked up the courage: Yes, I've decided at last to come out, not only to my own family but to all the people of Ireland. What some close relatives and friends probably dared not discuss with me, I can in fairness to them no longer hide.

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Why then, after remaining silent on the subject for the greater part of a century, do I now feel the need to reveal my secret? The answer in short is that every other person seems to be doing it, especially media personalities, so why not me?

Well, here goes: I am a straight male and have always been so. And, as far back as I can remember, I have always been attracted to women. Lest any of my gay and lesbian friends take umbrage, let me make it clear that no slight is intended when I use the term 'straight', because no other word exists to describe people of my orientation.

However, some of those for whom I have great regard would not describe themselves as straight.

Now the point in writing this letter, apart from this announcement of my out-coming, is to complain about the discrimination suffered by members of the community who do not claim to be either gay or lesbian.

As examples, can I cite the lack of a designated place in a St Patrick's Day parade; even the colour pink has been appropriated by others; no referendum is to be held on straight rights; one has to be very careful indeed not to use the adjective 'gay' in vain; and to cap it all the very definition of marriage is being subverted.

In order to explain a dilemma I have, it may be helpful to draw on a mathematical analogy: how can a + b be equal to a + a or to b + b? To propose a concept of equality between disparate states is to stand common sense on its head and to descend into the realm of the ludicrous.

On a personal note, can I say that I find it particularly galling that the taxes levied on my meagre income will be used to finance the coming referendum and pay for this exercise in futility and nonsense. How can one possibly vote for an equality where none is possible?

The passing of the referendum on so-called marriage equality would achieve nothing except the downgrading of marriage as we know it, to the detriment of society as a whole. To translate the classical and salutary proverb "they whom the gods would destroy they first make mad"!

Niall Ó Murchadha

An Spidéal, Co na Gaillimhe


Same-sex marriage vote

In her excellent letter yesterday Marcella Corcoran Kennedy wrote: "People are voting 'Yes' because they recognise that society as a whole is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other".

Bruce Arnold's suggestion that a 'Yes' vote is "misplaced sympathy" is indeed very insulting to us all.

Brian McDevitt

Glenties, Co Donegal


I refer to Mandy Johnston's article, specifically to her use of terms "liberal" and "open-minded" in respect of the upcoming referendum on same-sex 'marriage' and perhaps the legislation re adoption, surrogacy and so on.

The terms are the problem. I am so open-minded that I foresee problems when we are told that a man can "mammy" a small child. I foresee problems when a child grows up without a father, or a mother.

All of these concerns make me liberal and open-minded and not a slave to trend or brainwashing.

The denial by journalists of evidence already there is driving the acceptance of the proposed changes. A lady testified on radio recently that she has between 200 and 300 half-brothers and -sisters, and she experiences psychological problems as a consequence.

It was a Watergate moment that journalists should have followed up on - but they bottled it because they prefer to be on-agenda.

The censorship of contrarian opinion, so characteristic of 'liberal' and 'open-minded opinion', reminds many of us of the property boom and the blanket support for it by the main-stream press. The sheer haste and lack of discussion on this occasion yet again worries a minority of journalists, but they will suffer by being ruled out when awards are given out.

Gerald O'Carroll

Dooradoyle, Limerick


Honouring our colonisers

As part of what revisionists call our "shared history", relatives of British soldiers who fought and died during the Easter Rising in 1916 have called for a permanent joint memorial to the British soldiers and Irish Volunteers killed to be erected on Dublin's Mount Street Bridge.

Patrick Mercer, a former Tory MP and commanding officer of the Sherwood Foresters infantry regiment, said it would be the "ultimate reconciliation" if the Taoiseach was to visit the graves of British soldiers killed in the Easter Rising. The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys said consideration would be given to erecting a memorial to the soldiers.

Calls for us to venerate and commemorate those who ruthlessly suppressed the Easter Rising is both insulting and demeaning to the memory of those who gave their lives in 1916 for Irish freedom. Would the British government memorialise at the Cenotaph the countless Irish rebels killed in Britain fighting for Irish Independence? Or those Luftwaffe airmen killed on bombing raids over Coventry and London?.

British soldiers killed enforcing colonial rule around the world are not commemorated by the former colonised. Those killed fighting the Mau Mau aren't commemorated in Kenya.

Indeed, as the recent apology extended by the British government to Kenya for the brutality inflicted on the Mau Mau during their war for independence demonstrates, it is now common for the British to make apologies and reparation for their past colonial atrocities.

In Ireland, bizarrely, we have calls to honour and memorialise our former colonisers. It appears the legacy of our colonial experience has left us with a warped sense of nationhood.

Tom Cooper

Templeogue, Dublin 6w


Greek cheek

John Cuffe writes "Bravo, Mr Tsipras and the Greek nation" for being what Tsipras tells us is "a sovereign nation, not a debt colony" (Letters, April 10).

He ignores the fact that Greece has massive debts as a result of decisions made by the most powerful of the citizens of that sovereign nation over many years.

Greek problems are not the fault of the citizens of the rest of Europe.

Most EU countries did not suffer bankruptcy at the hands of their own most powerful citizens and then proceed to blame everyone else.

The taxpayers in the rest of the EU, including the taxpayers in the poorest countries, are paying for the maintenance of Greek sovereignty.

There is, therefore, nothing praiseworthy about the Greek government threats.

A Leavy

Sutton, Dublin 13

Irish Independent

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