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Anna Nolan: Gogarty's air kiss was so juvenile and embarrassing

When fighting a political battle (especially one that gets to the core of those whom it divides), there has to be discussion, debate and old-fashioned decorum.

Otherwise we do not learn the minutiae of the issue or the impact it will have for both sides.

The recent Civil Partnership Bill is a complex one, and through many debates on television and radio, and through articles published from supporters of both sides, we as a nation got to grips with how it would affect everybody and, as witnessed last week, it passed.

Whether it was Brian Finnegan from Gay Community News on the Pat Kenny Show, or David Quinn writing about the issue, all voices were important.

I loved hearing about the opponents to the Bill and their reasoning. I enjoyed the Christian point of view, the fear of the sacrament of marriage being taken away from heterosexuals.

I learnt much about how many Irish people see same-sex relationships, and all who participated opened my eyes to who we are as a nation.



BURN

So I was deeply embarrassed for Green Party TD Paul Gogarty when I learnt he blew a kiss to the protesters of the Civil Partnership Bill, outside Leinster House.

Surely people have a right to stand up for what they believe, (even if it goes against what I believe in) without a member of the Government ridiculing them by blowing a kiss?

Imagine if the Bill had not been passed and those who were against it came out to the pro-Bill supporters and blew kisses in their faces -- there would be World War III.

Mr Gogarty needs to have a little more decorum and keep his school playground antics to himself.

I have filmed with people who go against everything I believe in. Pastor Phelps in America was anti-gay in the most disturbing way. He wanted all gay people to die -- painfully.

I spent a day with this man, and only at the end of the day did I tell him I was gay. He looked me straight in the eye, smiled (we had gotten on very well the whole day) and said to me, "I hope you go straight to hell and burn with all the other gays". I shook his hand and thanked him. He thanked me and said cheerio.

Pastor Phelps was a dangerous man who would have been happy to see me in damnation for eternity. But I didn't blow him a kiss when I was leaving, and I didn't wish him harm.

If we cannot let people protest about their views without the fear of someone mocking them, especially a politician, we are doing something wrong.

Remember how Nelson Mandela held himself high when he left Robben Island.

There was something so dignified about the man that I will never forget it.

He could have given an angry speech, he could have cried bitter tears, he could have blown a cynical kiss to all the Apartheid followers.

He did none, he was bigger than all of that, and there are very few people who could ever be as gracious as that man.

Difference of opinion is necessary and should be valued -- that's how the Bill was recognised in the first place.


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