Monday 20 November 2017

Is it going to be hello marriage equality, bye bye Mammy?

Legalising same-sex marriage doesn't mean we all have to get one - we all didn't divorce

Iona Institute's Breda O'Brien
Iona Institute's Breda O'Brien
Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt

It's disconcerting to remember that just 20 years ago nearly half of the voting population of Ireland ticked the No box when asked if they wished to repeal the constitutional ban on divorce. Those in favour of continuing the ban warned the rest of us, ominously, that if we voted Yes, marriage as we knew it would be destroyed - women would be abandoned; farms would be split up and as for the children? Well, we all knew what would happen to them: "Hello Divorce, Goodbye Daddy", being the most iconic poster from that period.

The inference was that if divorce was ever introduced to Ireland, you'd end up having to get one yourself, whether you wanted to or not. Such scaremongering resulted in a poll which predicted a healthy 72pc of voters in favour of legalising divorce dropping to just over 50pc on the day.

Data released from the CSO this week reveal that, 20 years later, Ireland still has the lowest divorce rate in the EU at 0.6 per 1000 people. Amazingly, we didn't all run out and get a divorce just because it was legal to do so; fathers didn't immediately rush to abandon their children and, sadly for our gossip columnists, wife-swapping sodomites are still rather thin on the ground.

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