Kerryman

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Schools could have duty of normalizing homosexuality

Sir, Anyone would think from letters in your paper over the past two weeks that same-sex "marriage" is a benign eccentricity which won't affect the average person.Massachusetts has been cited for weeks as an example.

However, it doesn't take a lot of research to realize that what has happened there since same-sex marriage was introduced is truly frightening. Our citizens deserve to be forewarned because once inserted in our Constitution there will be no going back and future generations will surely ask why this information was kept hidden.

Up until now in the debate on same sex marriage this aspect has been sadly neglected. The Yes side certainly don't want this information brought into the public debate and the "No" side are trying so hard not to offend anyone that they have scarcely mentioned it. The details of what children are taught in schools are not suitable to be included here but can be found by logging on to WWW.MassResistance.org.

But what happened in the courts in Massachusetts should be warning enough for people to think again if considering the charitable thing to do is to vote Yes. In 2007 a federal judge ruled that because of "gay marriage" in Massachusetts, parents have no rights regarding the teaching of homosexual relationships in schools. The previous year the Parkers and Wirthlins had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit to force the schools to notify parents and allow them to opt out their elementary-school children when homosexual-related subjects were taught. The federal judge dismissed the case. The appeals judges later upheld the first judge's ruling that because same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, the school actually had a duty to normalize homosexual relationships to children; and schools have no obligation to notify parents or let them opt out their children. Acceptance of homosexuality had become a matter of good citizenship!

Think about this: If same-sex marriage is "legal" in Ireland then you will be breaking the law if you object to any teaching around homosexuality. Parents' complaints will be ignored or met with hostility.

In Massachusetts, School libraries have radically changed from elementary school to high school, now they have expanding shelves of books to normalize homosexual behaviour and "lifestyle" in the minds of kids, some of them quite explicit and even pornographic. In the UK similar things have been happening since gay marriage was legalised there. For example Andrew McClintock was forced to resign as a magistrate in Sheffield because he didn't believe placing children with same-sex couples was in their best interests. He lost his discrimination case at an employment appeal tribunal. Guardian Unlimited 22 October 2007, see http://www.theguardian.com/news/2007/oct/22/religion as at 16 April 2015

Before voting ask yourself the question "Is that what you want for future generations of Irish children and citizens"? Wherever marriage is redefined, people are punished for their sincere beliefs about marriage. You've been forewarned.

Sincerely,

Denis O'Connor.

Garrane,

Tralee.

A Eagarthóir, Equality for all should mean exactly what it says and the 'all' in question should include children.

However, we must not confuse equality with tolerance! We can accept and respect all our citizens equally without altering the status of the family as per Bunreacht na hÉireann. That and all its associated implications would spell disaster for our future generations.

Le meas,

B.Caball,

Cnoc Maoile, Trá Lí.

Sir, So we are heading into the final week of this mind boggling event. For the first time, at least in my experience, all of the main political parties are of one voice. 'Vote Yes', they cry and the religious leaders cry, 'vote No'. There must be a lot of very confused people out there. Should they vote Yes as their political leaders are telling them or vote No as their religious leaders are telling them. Eamon deValera must be turning in his grave at the decision of a Yes vote from Fianna Fail.

Then you have the ridiculous referendum on allowing 21 year olds to become President of Ireland. However, on mature reflection would it really matter as the position is, in all honesty, a rubber stamp position and at 21 they would stand a better chance of staying awake during all of the pompous receptions they would have to attend.

So having considered long and hard I have come to the following conclusion. A Yes vote to me is a vote for love and happiness and I am all for this so I will vote Yes.

And President at the age of 21 could make for interesting candidates in the next presidential election so I will be voting Yes for this too.

That's it, decision made, perhaps we can get back to the serious matter of running the country.

Sincerely,

Michael O'Meara,

Faha, Killarney.

Sir, A substantial portion of the public have raised legitimate concerns regarding the impact of a 'Yes' vote on the welfare of children, a primary concern stemming from the possible legalisation of surrogacy in the future. This apprehensiveness has been compounded by certain ill-informed beliefs surrounding Article 41 of the Constitution, which pledges to protect the constitution and authority of the family, implicitly guarding the right of a family to procreate. Certain commentators have argued that if the referendum is passed, the banning of surrogacy would be deemed unconstitutional as it would prevent gay men from procreating by the only means open to them. However, Mr Justice Kevin Cross, Independent Chair of the Referendum Commission, has publicly rejected this theory and assured the public that the hands of the Courts are most certainly not tied in cases of surrogacy. In the definitive words of Justice Cross, "There is no right of access to surrogacy. There is, spoken of, a right of a married couple to procreate but that right does not and has never been defined to include a right of access to artificial means such as surrogacy."

The 'No' campaign has also argued that the legalisation of same-sex marriage would prevent certain agencies, as well as the courts, from giving preference to heterosexual married couples as opposed to same-sex civil partners in cases of adoption and assisted reproduction. This argument is equally unfounded and legally inaccurate.

Parts 3 and 5 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, regarding one's entitlement to a child born through surrogacy or assisted reproduction, apply equally to couples who are married, in a civil partnership or in a co-habiting relationship. It follows that under the current law, same sex couples in a civil partnership and heterosexual married couples are given equal entitlement to children born as a result of assisted reproduction.

In the adoption process, it is the birth mother who decides which applicant couple is most eligible to parent her child. As it stands, there is no law barring the birth mother from discriminating on the basis of sex. If the mother is not present to make this decision, the adoption agency steps into the shoes of the mother. The agency may give preference to a married heterosexual couple if it is of the belief that doing so would safeguard the best interests of the child. However, the decision is ultimately predicated on the best interests of the child, rather than the sex of the couple, demonstrating that adoption policies in Ireland would not be altered by the legalisation of same sex marriage.

I could finish my letter my quoting studies which have consistently shown that children tend to live happy and healthy lives having been raised by same sex parents, however I do not wish to find fault with personal beliefs. My hope is that the people of Kerry will not make their decision on May 22 based on red herrings and distorted legal opinions put forward by certain factions of the 'No' campaign.

Sincerely,

Aoife O'Connor

Third year law and Irish student

Greenmount,

Dingle.

sIR, Proponents of a 'Yes' vote in the Marriage Referendum on May 22 rightly argue that excluding LGBT individuals from equal access to civil marriage will have a negative impact on the mental health and well-being of children and teenagers in Ireland - the national and international evidence from reliable research certainly demonstrates that discrimination gravely hurts LGBT young people.

As a middle-aged lesbian, originally from Dalton's Ave, Killarney, I recall my own 'coming out' some 35 years ago. Killarney was quite a different town then where church and state cast long shadows into every corner of our lives. A very religious person myself, I found it extremely difficult to reconcile my Catholicism with the growing realization that I was different, that my very existence was repugnant to the church in whose eyes I was unnatural, full of sin, an evil abomination.

I was 22 years old when I came out to my parents - I always shared everything with them and couldn't imagine lying to them. Like myself, they had little or no understanding of homosexuality, they feared it, they feared for my future. However, after the initial shock and horror had abated they each wrote a letter to me; I still have them. Both of them gave me good advice - to keep my mind open, to take my time, to enjoy my studies in UCC. But, whatever their misgivings, they both reassured me that they loved and cherished me:

"I myself will hope and pray and continue my famous Novena (ha ha). You say you are happy and that is what counts…. Don't worry about Dad and myself worrying about you, it's your life to choose so continue being happy." (Maudie McCarthy, February 1982)

"You are our daughter and we love you and always will no matter what." (Christy McCarthy February 1982)

True to their word and as the years went by, they loved me, supported me, welcomed my girlfriends, respected our families. My three sisters and brother and their families in turn, were also and still are, my staunchest supporters.

My beloved parents died many years ago; I honour their bravery, their generosity of spirit, their willingness to see beyond the narrow, mean vision and ideological straitjacket that dominated our lives in the Killarney of yesteryear.

For my parents and family; love of me conquered all their fears. I tell their story now because I know that they would want it told so that other daughters, sons, parents, grandparents in Killarney, Ireland and around the world might live freer, safer, more cherished lives.

Sincerely,

Dr Joan McCarthy MA PHD,

Windmill Road,

Cork City.

Sir, The proposed amendment to the Constitution seeks to give two different types of sexual relations (female and female, male and male) the same status as male-female marriage as we know it. It is surely common sense to say that this is wrong. There is a distinction. The distinction between opposite and same-sex couples was recognized by the Oireachtas as recently as 2010 in the Civil Partnership Act. This gives wide-ranging rights to same sex couples. The 2010 Act was enabled by the Equality article of the Constitution which allows the Oireachtas to enact different laws for different situations. It is not inequality to accept the reality of difference.

We totally disagree that the proposals will not affect children. If passed, the amendment will inevitably allow the 'commissioning' of children. We applaud the work of single parents and their contribution to society. At the same time, we believe that mothers and fathers matter to children. It takes the two sexes to create them, and where possible, to nurture them.

We accept and respect same-sex couples, but say that their relationship is different to marriage. Their ability to care, nurture and educate a child must be limited by the best interest of a child. The simple reality is that same-sex couples cannot supply a child with both a mother and a father. This proposal will deprive children of a mother or a father and imposes an inequality between children. The best interest of all children should be paramount to voters.

We respectfully suggest, therefore, that voters reflect on the matter. We suggest that the following questions may be helpful:

1. Do you agree that, whenever possible, a child should have both a female and a male nurturer, bringing different strengths, values and outlooks to the rearing of a child?

2. Do you believe that the family as we know it will be changed if same sex couples have their relationship recognized as a "marriage"?

3. Do you believe the relationship between a man and a woman is the same as the relationship between two men or two women?

4. Do you believe it is correct to insert into our Constitution a redefinition of marriage that will inevitably result in a child being deprived of either a mother or a father?

The institution of marriage and family as they are, have worked well in the main for society. Voting No will preserve this valuable institution.

Sincerely,

Mary Fitzgibbon, Ann Keeling, Robert

Pierse, Ian O'Shea,

Mothers and Fathers Matter (Kerry).

Letters should be sent to: The Editor, The Kerryman, Denny St, Tralee. Email: dmalone@kerryman.ie. Please include a contact phone number for verification purposes. Letters may be edited. It is editorial policy not to publish anonymous letters.

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