| 6.5°C Dublin

Gay marriage is an issue of law, not one for religion

I WAS so disheartened after reading the letter ‘Sick of Gay Mafia’s Militant Tactics’ (Irish Independent, February 25).

I am a young gay man in Ireland who has no religious affiliations. The author wishes to espouse the “values on which Irish society was founded”. These “values” would include the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act and the 1885 Criminal Law (Amendment) Act which criminalised homosexuality.

They were only amended in 1993 following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Norris vs Ireland. Without this case, I have little doubt that the author would not be in a position to claim: “I can honestly say that I have never felt overtly discriminated against for my sexual orientation in all my years growing up in Ireland.”

Secondly, the author compares the gay rights movement to mafia militancy. I wonder does he feel the same way about all human rights movements – are all campaigns for fundamental rights and freedoms that go against the Catholic Church’s teaching militant? I would also like to point out that the vast majority of gay people in Ireland have no desire to seek recognition for their marriages in the eyes of the church; they are only concerned with full equality in the eyes of the law.

As a final point, the author refers to the “immense importance placed on the dignity of the human person” by the church yet the same church states: “Homosexuality is a troubling moral and social phenomenon.”

Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity” and notes “the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered”. As a “practising Catholic who is faithful to the teachings of the church, including those on sexual morality”, does the author intend to remain celibate for his entire life, to deny himself the love, companionship and intimacy of a partner – someone to share his hopes, dreams, fears and ultimately his life with? If so, I hope his god shows him more mercy than he is showing himself, but he should not seek to deny the right of all people, irrespective of their sexuality, to legally commit themselves fully to another person.