Less than 48 hours until the polls open! Last night there was a debate. I did not watch it. I’m confident that if I had, I would have thought “Yes” won, while “No” voters will think “No” won. And the whole scene unfolds, with a tedious inevitability.
Back in the real world, where 80% or more of voters have made up their minds, the campaign enters the final straight. Hear “No” voters complain about harassment and intolerance of their position? Remember that LGBT people in the country have had it far worse for far longer, even those who you might expect would be in a position where they shouldn’t. The McAleese endorsement remains worth its weight in gold…and votes. Speaking of the “No” side talking out of its rear end, anytime you hear someone from that side of the argument complain about intolerance or supposed “harassment” – which, 19 times out of 20, turns out to be nothing of the sort – think of this. And wonder how many messages like that “No” side have gotten.
The international press continue to issue forth with multiple articles noting Ireland’s imminent decision, with Reuters framing their look by casting their gaze backwards a little bit. The shift in attitudes towards homosexuality – Ireland being the last country in Western Europe to decriminalise it – has been striking, and the legalisation of SSM will be one of the most effective signs that this trend is now the norm, and not some aberration. It wasn’t all that long ago that homosexuality was still the subject of vitriolic comments from judges and other people of authority, but now we are on the cusp of major change, where homosexuality becomes part and parcel of our constitution. What a decision that will be. What a moment of pride it could be, if “Yes” is successful. Ireland has a lot to make up for with its human rights record, and this week is a chance to do some making up.
Witness also the last twitching of the “No” campaign. Having gone through everything in the barrel from adoption to surrogacy to retroactive praising of civil partnership to religion and back to adoption and surrogacy, they have even now decided to scrap the very bottom and throw the word “homophobic” at the “Yes” side, hoping that anything and everything might stick and win a few votes. This is the truly desperate time: accuse “Yes” of everything that the media is willing to print. Undemocratic. Intolerant. Bigoted. Homophobic. Racist maybe. Sexist? Sure, why not. Un-Irish. Traitors. Whatever it takes. As the “Yes” side continues to preach, as it always has done, its message of acceptance, equality and love over hate, the contrast with the negative stop-at-nothing “No” campaign, perhaps, has never been more stark.
I also find it hilarious that the few members of the LGBT community voting “No” have gotten as much attention as they have, out of all disproportion to their numbers. It’s even more hilarious considering that chief among them, Keith Mills, having acted as if the sky will fall with a “Yes” vote, won’t be voting. Why? He’s on holidays. Seriously. Well, priorities are priorities Keith.
Not long left now. Tune in tomorrow.