Sunday 21 January 2018

'The days when bishops tell people to vote is long since gone,' Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on #MarRef

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Diarmuid Martin says he disagrees with bishops telling people how to vote in Friday’s Marriage Equality referendum.

The senior cleric tonight said he believed there is the potential to constitutionally protect same sex relationships in the future but that passing this particular referendum will change the definition of marriage as we know it.

Speaking on RTE’s ‘Six One News’, Archbishop Martin insisted his decision to vote no is not a vote against gay and lesbian people.

“I believe, one way or the other, whatever the result, there is a long agenda in addressing the problems of young gay people and the crisis they face,” he said.

Archbishop Martin said marriage is not just about two people falling in love.

“Marriage, family and children are all linked together. You can’t tear them apart,” he said.

But unlike other clergy members, Archbishop Martin stopped short of calling for people to vote no.

“The days when bishops tell people how to vote is long since gone,” he said.

Speaking during the same programme, Taoiseach Enda Kenny made his last ditch plea for voters to support the Marriage Equality referendum.

“There is nothing to fear from love and equality and this is about love and equality,” Mr Kenny said.

“This is about families, extended families. It’s about asking myself when I was asked to extend marriage to every citizens, what did I do?”

Mr Kenny emphasised that the referendum has nothing to do with issues such as surrogacy. He said this position has been reiterated by the chairman of the Referendum Commission Mr Justice Kevin Cross.

Novelist Colm Tóibín
Novelist Colm Tóibín

Meanwhile, department of Environment spokesman said over 200 members of the public have been turned away from Dublin Castle on Saturday night because the venue is full to capacity.

Over 150 media outlets, including many international news stations, are scheduled to cover the event at Dublin Castle where the final result will be announced.

Elsewhere, novelist Colm Tóibín told Channel 4 News there is now nothing to stop a young gay person being happy.

“I think it’s been a wonderful campaign for gay people and their families in Ireland because we’ve been allowed to make our argument to the nation," he told presenter Jon Snow.

"This referendum is not a piece of legislation coming from government, from the top, so there’s an argument or in a way an effort to persuade the people of Ireland to look at us and say actually, these people should be treated decently and these people should not be discriminated against.

“And I think more importantly maybe, I’m 60, but the idea for me of a 15-year-old in Ireland coming out to his parents, or coming out to her parents, and the parents being able to say now after this referendum, look you’re embraced by the people of Ireland in a referendum.

"There is now nothing to stop you being happy. The society has changed in your favour. I think that will be a wonderful day for Ireland."

Tóibín said the main issue is the difference between love if you’re gay and love if you’re not gay.

"And if you think my love is lesser than yours, who have you asked and how do you know?," he asked.

"The question is really about degrees of love. And if you’re gay, I think you’re pretty sure in the way you’ve lived your life that actually love for all of us, we’re human, we’re the same, and we would like that to be publically recognised and under our constitution.”

He also said hit out at the involvement if the church on the matter.

“The church has no moral authority to speak on civil matters because of the abuse and I don’t notice them speaking much on spiritual matters – so that they’re sort of neutered," he added.

"The moral authority has moved in various directions and one of them is to people who are discriminated against and victimised.”

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