Robyn R
Apr. 29.

Waffle Wednesday: I see the posters & Despair for Humanity

Robyn RYes, I will say it right now. This is a political post. It is about the Marriage Equality Referendum, and if that’s not your thing, please come back soon. Normal service will resume shortly. There is now less than a month to go until the May 22 Referendum, and I’ll be honest. It can’t come soon enough.

As it typical with all elections and referenda, it comes with posters. Tons of them. Millions of them. Every (other) lamp post is festooned with one or more of them, and sometimes with multiples of the same one (cover every angle). I try to ignore them. I am not a fan of them, but some of them are hard to ignore (but to make it easier, there are no poster images in this post).

My issue isn’t with the Yes campaign posters. they are hardly emotive ( I personally find the Fianna Fail ones to be very banal). The AAA ones skirt a bit close to not being suitable (Vote yes to Equality in 2015, no to Austerity in 2016), but generally they are okay. My issue is with the No campaign. There are a wide range of posters out there, all dealing with highly emotive topics, which aren’t relevant to this referendum. They are issued by and paid for by a group called Mothers & Fathers Matter. Now, I completely agree with the group name. Mothers matter. Fathers matter. But it does not mean that the mother and father have to be in a single group, a single unit. To say that someone who raises a child without a mother, or without a father (why is the evil couple ALWAYS two men?) you are automatically failing the child. Have Mothers & Fathers Matter actually stopped and thought about what they are doing there. They are insulting, and delivering a slap in the face to every single parent in Ireland, and indeed the world. To say that a mother, who threw an abusive partner out, and did the very best she could to raise a child, protect them and care for them in not at all easy circumstances, is a failure as a parent, as they didn’t raise the child with a father, is degrading, inhuman and wrong. Likewise, if fate happened to conspire to leave a father to raise a child without a mother, the father is a failure? There is something seriously messed up there.

And yet, as I said above. The issue of children is not the topic of the referendum. It is about marriage. Very simple. As the proposed wording states:

‘Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex’

Nowhere does it mention children, or mother, or father. Though, as the constitution will, and has, inevitably been brought up, let’s do some simple word finding exercises:

  • There are 6 mentions of mother in the constitution. Most are as part of the word “mothers” (twice in relation to abortion & four times in relation to work)
  • One mention of father, in this passage (Humbly acknowledging all our obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial,)
  • Nine mentions of parents  (in relation to Article 42 – education)
  • No mentions of female or male

I have seen the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child quoted the same way. The figures are just as bad, and prove the argument wrong just as easily there.

It is unfortunate that psychology says someone will be swayed by the No posters, and that is unfortunate. It is one thing if you choose to vote no, for the right reason in your mind. I don’t agree with you, but I respect your opinion. To decide to vote no, as the result of an argument that is completely irrelevant, though, is wrong. Completely wrong, and as a result I need to advise everyone of this: Find out what the referendum is about. Look at the logical arguments from BOTH sides, discount the ones that you can see are crazy or irrelevant, mull things over, and then make up your mind. You have until May 22.

I must also add, please, do your civic duty. If it is at all possible, check you are on the voter register (you have until May 5th to get yourself on there), and on May 22, get out and vote!


By Robyn | Posted in Politics, Random Waffle, Waffle Wednesday | Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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  • Excellent post, I agree with all of your points! The No posters are really insulting. This is a vote on gay marriage, why is there a picture of a baby on the posters? It has nothing to do with children. Marriage does not equal children, I know married couples who are perfectly happy without children. Marriage should be equal, I genuinely think people are very confused and there needs to be some basic info out there without the scaremongering and the stupidity and the notion that every gay couple in the country will be after your children.

    • Marriage should be equal, and children have nothing to do with this referendum, but if you shout an emotive argument loud enough, even if it is off topic, someone will eventually listen to you!

  • I completely agree with you, Robyn.

    The no campaign no their arguments aren’t related to the marriage equality referendum at all (some of them have said as much on Twitter), but they’re making them anyway. It’s infuriating and belittles every family that doesn’t fit into the very narrow structures set out by Mothers and Fathers Matter (whose name couldn’t mean the opposite of their actions more if they’d tried). Sadly, the scaremongering will work on some people, which is why visibility and canvassing from the yes side is so important. Especially in rural Ireland.

    It’s also difficult to expect LGBTQ* people to put themselves out there in such a public way by knocking on doors etc, telling strangers their stories and asking them to vote yes. I have so much respect for those people who are doing it, whilst completely understanding why other people want/need to help the campaign from a slightly removed position.

    Apologies for the ramble, I wandered slightly off topic.

    • Rambling is both allowed and encouraged!

      Part of my encouraging people to actually think it through is to give people a chance to see these posters as they really are, and to stop people being scared into a vote.

      • And that’s the way to do it. People talking and asking questions about those posters is how we go about changing minds. I mean we’ll never change the minds of no campaigners (no more than they’ll change the minds of the yes side), but the people in the middle who may initially have been confused by the posters are usually thankful for more information.

        • Exactly! Neither sides big supporters will change the minds of the other sides big supporters, but if it can be made clearer for those in the middle, then brilliant!

Go on, talk to me. I don't bite!


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