My country is about to be tested. In less than twenty days I will know if the Ireland I live in is the country I believe it to be. I will know if we live in a society of inclusion and equality, or if in fact we remain the country of ignorance and bigotry we used to be.
On May 22nd we will vote as a nation to decide if same sex marriage will be given equal status with heterosexual marriage.
The campaign has got dirty, with the ‘no’ side clouding the issue with talk of children’s rights and fathers rights. Their argument is unnecessary as many gay and lesbian couples already have children, so the point of their argument makes no sense.
My children are passionate about this vote. Never before have I seen them so animated. Their uncle, my brother, is gay with a lovely partner. They are together seventeen years. I don’t know if they will marry, or if they even wish to marry, but I will fight hard to give them the right to. The very idea that my brother who grew up by my side, should not be allowed by the laws of the land I love, to marry, is ridiculous to me.
As the date comes ever closer I am becoming more anxious. What if the ‘no’ vote win? How will I feel living in a country I’m ashamed of? How will I feel for the hurt my brother, his partner and thousands will feel?
I can only hope that there is no need for my fingers to be crossed and that those I live my life alongside everyday will do the right thing. Hopefully come May 23rd I’ll be standing tall and shouting from the rooftops…I’m Irish and proud!
photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc