Cheers to my Irish kin

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Snapshot-IrelandSome years back, when I lived in Cincinnati, a downtown department store featured Irish woolens. A grizzled old guy with a beard wearing traditional Irish clothes sat at a table with a huge book of Irish family names in front of him. Behind him was a larger-than-life map of the Republic of Ireland with light bulbs distributed throughout the map.

I gave the gentleman my family name. He nodded, smiled and pressed a button. The entire map lighted up. This week that map could have been illuminated again. By an overwhelming vote, the Irish made gay marriage legal. Voters who approved same-sex marriage weren’t just people in their 20s and 30s. Oldsters joined in, too.

I’d like to think many of my distant relatives voted in the majority.
If so, good for them. Good for my Irish roots.

Catholic leaders, in Ireland and in Rome, denounced the outcome of the election. I expected that. But this most Catholic country has been losing its influence ever since officials exposed the church coverup of the scandal that found priests sexually abusing children.

Social change, though, can happen quickly. Consider it was only in 1993 that Ireland decriminalized gay sex. Divorce, meantime, became legal there in 1995.

That’s been the story in this country, too. When I retired writing editorials and columns for the paper in 2000, I don’t believe there was any public discussion about gay persons marrying. Just a few short years later, it’s now legal in 37 states.

That includes Indiana. Just recently we attended the wedding of two women friends at our Unitarian church.

I suppose many conservative Americans will find it hard to accept the right of gay persons to marry. Many other conservatives will come around.

A few years ago, our good friend Roger McNett gave a speech at our church. He made the point that he didn’t see how gay marriage would affect his and Rachael’s marriage. There it is. The best answer to critics of gay marriage.

Stop and think about it. Who really are the losers in gay marriage? Studies have shown for years that the children they raise have no more problems growing up than the children in heterosexual marriages.

Again, who are the losers? Leaders in the 20 countries that allow gay marriage figured it out. This week Irish voters demonstrated that they figured it out.

There are no losers with gay marriage. In fact, every person wins. In the end, equality always wins.

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