Listening to the radio today I felt saddened to be Irish. On the 22nd of May a referendum will be held to ask all registered voters to vote yes or no to the proposal to include a new clause about marriage in the Constitution. This new clause provides that two people may marry each other regardless of their sex.
Today the radio presenter spoke to a number of people who will be voting No to the change of the constitution. Generally, when you hear a No vote speaker they represent a religious organisation and I have come to expect a certain rhetoric from them. To be honest I think and care very little about their views. In my mind they are a vocal and obstinate minority.
Today was different though. Today made me think that their views are not necessarily the minority. Today a cohort of people spoke out about their views. These people didn’t seem to be connected to each other in any way but they who were saying the same thing and they all plan to vote No. The general theme of the segment was that people are genuinely worried that voters considering voting Yes haven’t thought about the potential consequences for Ireland. They worry that the sanctity of marriage will be called into question if same sex couples can marry. Some felt that civil partnership should be enough and some felt bullied to say Yes. One woman worried that Ireland’s reputation is based on being a family orientated nation and if a yes vote is passed then this cornerstone of Irish culture would be eroded. You can read a straight forward counter to these point here.
But one argument really saddened me and that was the undercurrent that homosexual relationships are not natural. If I’m honest I felt ashamed that this is where I live. Sitting in a car park with the radio on it hit me this is where I live . I live somewhere where a large number of people feel many of it’s own citizens are unnatural or immoral because of who they love. How widespread this sentiment is felt is yet to be seen but that feeling is here.
When two women find love their bodies releases dopamine and serotonin and they both feel the natural chemical rush of the early stages of love. That scary butterfly feeling of nerves and excitement takes over in a way that doesn’t feel natural but is the most natural, scary and beautiful feeling.
When two men decide they love each other and commit to growing old and bald together their romantic love causes their bodies to release oxytocin (the lovely cuddle chemical) and vasopressin (some kind of natural chemical important in long term relationships).
When a man meets a woman their bodies do all the same lovely chemical things that any couple in love feels.
So, if you’re voting yes you’re also voting for the right to legally recognise natural love and that mad urge to stay with someone forever. You’re voting for people so in love they want to promise to make it last and bind that promise in law. If you think marriage is important and sacred then definitely vote yes to letting more people do this important thing. If you feel marriage is needed to keep Ireland strong and maintain the importance of family then vote yes for making more legally bound families. If, like me, you’re not really bothered about marriage then vote for the people who are bothered. Vote for people who are in love to be allowed to marry each other, if they want to, because doesn’t that sound like the most natural thing to do?