UN declaration doesn’t define marriage as male-female union
Published 15/05/2015 | 02:30
In the final paragraph of Dublin footballer Ger Brennan's article on why he is voting 'No' in the marriage referendum (Irish Independent, May 13), he claims "The Universal Declaration on Human Rights ... holds that marriage is a male-female union."
This is untrue.
The right to marry and found a family is contained in Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in Article 23 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Nothing in the articles on marriage in either of the treaties states that the right only extends to straight couples.
Furthermore, Article 2 of each treaty has an anti-discrimination clause that makes it clear that the rights contained in it applies to all people, regardless of their status.
This was reiterated by a 1994 decision of the UN Human Rights Committee which found that sexual orientation was a protected status in human rights law, the same as race or gender.
So, sorry for saying this, Ger, but it's always better to stick with the facts. After all, "This is senior hurling!"
Dan O' Neill
Address with Editor
Brennan's brave 'No' stance
Congratulations to Dublin GAA football star Ger Brennan for publicly declaring his intention to vote 'No' in the forthcoming marriage referendum.
At last there is a prominent sports personality who has the courage - and it takes courage for someone in his position in the present climate - to stand openly against the stifling 'Yes' consensus that exists in relation to this issue in our political and media establishments and among the 'great and the good' generally.
Athboy, Co Meath
Please treat my son equally
I am appealing to you all to open your hearts with respect and compassion on May 22 and vote 'Yes' to allow our gay and lesbian sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers the right to marry the person they love and afford them the same protection under the Constitution as everyone else.
I am a mother of two children, a beautiful son and daughter. My son is gay and I love him with all my heart, just as I love my daughter. They are both equal in my eyes, as is every man, woman and child in this country of ours.
There is only equality, and any word other than equality is less than equality. My son is not less than someone else's child. And as such, he should have the same rights under the Constitution as everyone else, that is the right to marry the person he loves. This is a civil and human right.
The Irish Constitution declares that we cherish all our children equally. That is not the case now. My son is not cherished equally.
It is a lovely thing when two people fall in love and wish to marry. This should be celebrated regardless of whether it is a same-sex couple or heterosexual couple.
If we vote no in this referendum, we are saying that the love between same-sex couples is of less value than the love between heterosexual couples. And this is wrong. My son is a wonderful, caring, loving man and would be an amazing father.
I know that the majority of Irish people are caring and compassionate and would not deliberately set out to hurt anyone. Let's make Ireland a caring, open, inclusive and welcoming Country where all our children are cherished and treated with the love, respect and dignity that each life deserves.
The church is telling its parishioners to vote 'No'. I wonder what Jesus would say if he was around today? I think he would say "love your neighbour as you love yourself".
Name and address with Editor
Different can't be equal
A "Marriage Equality Referendum" is what we were originally told we would vote on, and still is.
In the meantime, the Government conveniently brought in the Children and Family Relationship Bill, passing it into law without any public discussion and throwing a spanner in the works. This should have been held over until the equality of marriage' was first decided on. Now the main debate has swung from "marriage equality" to the composition of same-sex families - deliberately confusing the original issue.
Marriage is unique, and thus has no equal or no parallel. "Equality" means equal. A union of male and female could not be equal to a union of two men or a union of two women. Why? Because they are different. Only the male-female union is capable of procreating a natural family and has been so since time immemorial.
The unique marriage union between man and woman, in a loving relationship, to procreate a natural family, with maternal and paternal parents to rear, love and protect them, has no equal on earth. No composition of same-sex family could compare.
If there is anybody in a position to contradict this and provide something more sustainable, I will change my vote from 'No' to 'Yes'.
Thurles, Co Tipperary
Let's have diversity in equality
I am a celibate gay man and I will be voting 'No' in the marriage referendum. In the past, I was not celibate, and at one time had a blessing ceremony with my partner, which was not seen as marriage, but more a union, celebrated with family and friends, tailor made for that type of relationship.
Equality does not mean all of us being the same, it means all of us having the right to be ourselves, in our own way. I believe that gay people have different needs when it comes to relationships, and civil partnership (or something similar) meets those needs. Marriage is specifically heterosexual by nature.
Let's keep it that way, and keep something special for gay people in a different way, so we can have diversity in equality.
Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
New era of gender balance
So, having more women candidates for election is the "road to mediocrity" (Ian O'Doherty, Irish Independent, May 12).
Mr O'Doherty's language reveals a lot about him and his view of women, with words like "one-legged, black, lesbian, single mother immigrant".
Perhaps the increase in women candidates will actually bring us out of political mediocrity. Women think long and hard about putting their names forward for selection.
Often, they hold themselves back in the belief that maybe they are not qualified or experienced enough - not to mention the family unfriendly hours and working conditions for politicians.
Having observed Irish politics since the 1960s, I don't think men were ever held back from stepping forward. Indeed, some men may be passed over at selection conventions - never fear, though, Irish politics has not advanced so much that they wouldn't be added to the ticket anyway.
This is about choice for voters. Give us enough good candidates, male and female, and Ireland could become a far better-run country.
We may be entering a new political era in terms of gender balance, and that is to be welcomed.
Blackrock, Co Louth