Monday 23 October 2017

Stephanie Roche on Marriage Referendum: 'I grew up in a one parent household and I like to think I've turned out OK'

Independent.ie columnist and football sensation Stephanie Roche weighs in on the upcoming Marriage Referendum.

Stephanie Roche before the new consulate opening in Austin, Texas
Stephanie Roche before the new consulate opening in Austin, Texas
Stephanie Roche

Stephanie Roche

Over the last few weeks I've seen a lot of activity on social media about the upcoming Marriage Referendum.

I've seen articles and comments from both the YES and the NO campaign without really looking into it or knowing a lot about it.

My first thoughts were that it was really just about making same sex marriage legal and I really couldn't see what the NO campaign angle could be. I do have to admit that I don't know a lot about politics, it's not my strong point but I spent some time researching it over the last few days.

For me this referendum is fundamentally about happiness. Who are we to stand in the way of two people who are in love getting married? Whether they are gay, lesbian, straight or bisexual everyone deserves to be happy and if marrying their partner makes them happy then that option should be there for every person.

Stephanie Roche in her bespoke Helen Cody dress on the FIFA red carpet and (above) catching the eye of Ronaldo and Messi
Stephanie Roche in her bespoke Helen Cody dress on the FIFA red carpet and (above) catching the eye of Ronaldo and Messi

Scrolling through Twitter last week I seen so many photos of the vote NO posters for their campaign. Quite frankly some of them were pathetic. One in particular, it read  'All children deserve to have a mother and a father'. Firstly the referendum is about marriage equality, not surrogacy or anything else so I can't see why they've used it.

But in choosing to use it, are they suggesting that one parent households are somewhat inferior to those in two parent household? Ireland is a very diverse country and right now all over the country there are children living in one parent homes.

This may be due to a number of different things. There are unfortunate situations where a parent passes away. Some children may have never known a parent at all.

I have friends who have experienced both these situations and yes it's difficult but they have one parent who works extra hard to make life good for them.

Stephanie Roche at Marty's RTE party
Stephanie Roche at Marty's RTE party

My own mother and father separated when I was very young, yes I'm lucky enough to have a great relationship with both my parents but I grew up in a one parent household and I like to think I've turned out ok.

In using this slogan they are not only offending people in one parent families but also suggesting that same sex parents are inferior to mixed sex parents.

A child needs to feel loved and grow up in a safe environment, that can come from one parent or two parents. Whether they are the same sex shouldn't even matter. I feel posters like this are getting away from what's important.

This referendum is about Ireland opening up to what so many other countries have already and that is marriage equality. I can't personally vote as I'm not in the country May 22nd but I want to try and urge people to make sure they are registered and use their vote.

Stephanie Roche outside the Late Late Show
Stephanie Roche outside the Late Late Show

If I could, I'd be voting yes. In my opinion a yes vote will bring happiness to so many people and it will tell any person who lives in fear of coming out that Ireland respects you no matter what your sexual orientation is.

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