Kevin Myers: Every single human decision has a consequence -- so remember that the next time you vote for someone's rights
Consequence; perhaps the least considered word in the entire Irish political lexicon. Repeatedly, governments have embarked on policies with little consideration of consequence. This recklessness is almost built into the DNA of the State from 1916 onwards: politicians did what made them feel good, or which satisfied a personal ambition, regardless of the actual outcome. And consequence was then seen as some wholly unfair act of either an evil history or of the British, which in nationalist thinking, came down pretty much to the same thing.
So how much thought went into the recent Fianna Fail vote to give full marriage rights to same-sex couples? A second's worth, maybe? But we were recently told very clearly by the Supreme Court that judges do not like imposing their own views on parliamentary laws relating to sexual morality. So, just as in the contemptible and disgusting law by which a 15-year-old boy can be imprisoned for being seduced by a sexually experienced 16-year-old girl, but she may not, and which the Supreme Court ruled was constitutional, our law-makers cannot now expect to be rescued from their own bad decisions by some clever judges. The Supreme Court will not impose its own wisdom on any law that establishes legal parity between homosexual and heterosexual marriages.
Therefore, equality in law having been achieved, what happens when a lesbian couple and a heterosexual couple are competing to adopt the same baby boy? Without a legal protection for the rights of the child, the claim of each is equally valid, though the record of every society shows that boys without a strong stable male figure in their lives are an express train heading for trouble. Indeed, one prison survey in the US showed that 90pc of jail-inmates were the product of fatherless homes. But with marital parity achieved, an adoption agency would be breaking the law if it ruled in favour of the heterosexual couple. We have seen the workings of this sort of law in Britain, where it is illegal for Catholic adoption agencies to seek heterosexual homes for their children. The consequence -- ah, that word again -- is that Catholic adoption agencies have closed, rather than do something they feel is immoral, which is to hand children over to homosexual couples. It is not even lawful for the birth mother to stipulate that she wants her child to be raised by a heterosexual married couple.