I know everyone must be sick of the upcoming marriage referendum by now. Hell,even I’m sick of it. I’m sick of the whining,the bigotry wrapped up in so-called common sense,the downright hatred towards ones fellow human beings. The No side are now confident they can win. I listened incredulously to one of their spokesmen on the radio yesterday afternoon saying it was now no longer a case of if the referendum would be defeated but by how much. Well not on my watch buddy, so I’m going to make one last plea and if I can even convince one person out there to vote Yes, it’ll all have been worth it.
In doing so, I’m paying homage to the incredible resilience and quiet dignity of friends and acquaintances who have been tirelessly campaigning for equal rights. I think of all the insults, the anger, the hatred and the bigotry they have encountered as they march from one door to the next in search of something the majority of us take for granted. I think of the one friend who was asked to canvass and declined, on the basis that in reality canvassing was all he had been doing for the last 18 years.
When I vote on Friday I’ll be voting in the same place I have always voted-my old primary school in Limerick.As someone who has moved house no fewer than twenty times as an adult,I thought it would be safer and easier to leave my vote at my parents gaff. Way back in the olden days, when I was in primary school, it was illegal in this country to be a homosexual and being gay was the ultimate playground taunt.Yes, we have come a long way since those dark days, but there is still so much more we can do. With a simple yes, we can show kids who may be afraid and hurting that we love them, we support them, we accept them and we want them to be happy. As a mother, that is all I want for my kids. For them to be happy and feel loved.
When I go to the school tomorrow,I will think of all the kids who have passed through the doors,of all the adults they have become. Doubtless some of them will have suffered for the simple crime of being different. I will also think of all the kids who have yet to come through those doors and of what future awaits them.
In less than 24 hours,we have a chance to so something extraordinary as a nation;to become the first country to legally ratify gay marriage. With that we can heal some of the hurt that has been occurring to our citizens for countless years and also get back on the road to unifying what has become a fractured society of late. People have been unfriended on Facebook, family members no longer speak. A chasm has opened and it needs to be closed so we can all moved forward.
Three simple letters,one tiny cross in a box,one giant leap forward in equality. Can we do it?I’m confident we can but we all need to play our part.
So please,vote tomorrow and vote Yes. For your fellow citizens; strangers and friends alike. For our future children.
But most importantly,do it for love or as this guy put it:
“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic and we’ll change the word.”- Jack Layton.